A ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib will depend on the moderate Syrian opposition, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said at a briefing on Friday.
“We remain committed to the Sochi Memorandum of 2018. However, we believe that the fight against radical terrorist groups must go on. We welcome a statement that the Syrian government made yesterday, declaring a ceasefire in Idlib,” he said.
Lavrentyev also pointed out that Moscow considered the move to be a gesture of goodwill on the part of Damascus, which proved its readiness to restore stability in the region. “Now, everything will depend on the opposition and the possibility of establishing a demilitarized zone and withdrawing all radical groups and heavy weapons from there. Let’s hope that common sense will prevail and the moderate opposition will succeed in taking control of the area in order to put an end to raids in areas controlled by the Syrian government,” the Russian envoy emphasized.
The Syrian TV said earlier that the government had agreed to declare a ceasefire in Idlib provided that all agreements made in Sochi were implemented, which meant that militants should move 20 kilometers away from the demilitarized zone and heavy artillery should be withdrawn.
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at their Sochi meeting on September 17, 2018, agreed to create a 15-20 kilometers wide demilitarized zone along the line of contact in the Idlib province. However, terrorist units are still active in the area.
The Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan hosted the 13th international high-level meeting on Syria the on August 1-2. The event involved representatives of the guarantor countries (Russia, Iran and Turkey), the Syrian government and the opposition. High-ranking officials from the United Nations and Jordan were present at the meeting as observers. Besides, Lebanon and Iraq for the first time participated in the Nur-Sultan talks as observers.