Russian defense minister said Tuesday agreements between Ankara and Moscow on Idlib de-escalation zone were being implemented despite difficulties in Syria’s northwest, and expressed hope for stability and normalization in the region.
"Idlib agreements are being implemented, however, there are some difficulties," Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told reporters following a bilateral meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
He said that Russian and Turkish armies carry out joint patrols in Idlib, and added: "I hope the situation in Idlib will reach to a stabilization and will completely return to normal".
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The Syrian regime and its allies, however, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the zone.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to some four million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces from throughout the war-weary country.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.
By Emre Gurkan Abay in Moscow