Russia accuses Turkey of violating Syria deal, supporting rebels with artillery

By: AFP      Published: 01:42 AM, 28 Feb, 2020
Russia accuses Turkey of violating Syria deal, supporting rebels with artillery

The Russian defence ministry on Thursday accused Turkey of violating a peace deal for Syria’s Idlib by supporting rebels with artillery fire and drones.

“In violation of the Sochi agreements in the Idlib de-escalation zone the Turkish side is continuing to support illegal armed groups with artillery fire and the use” of drones to target the Syrian troops, the ministry said, quoting the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, Oleg Zhuravlev.

The ministry added that on Tuesday a Turkish drone violated Syria’s borders but was destroyed as it prepared to strike Syrian troops.

Russia and Turkey in 2018 agreed to create a demilitarised zone in Idlib but the accord has fallen apart as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces move to recapture the last big region beyond his control.

The epicentre of the nearly nine-year long conflict in Syria, Idlib has in recent weeks become the theatre of conflict between Turkey, which supports rebel groups in the area, and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is backed by Russia.