Russia has accused Turkey of violating international law in Syria's Idlib ahead of a March 5 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Russia says Turkey trying to push 130,000 refugees from Syria into Greece
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov on March 4 said that Turkey's troop deployment in Idlib is an "open violation of international law," adding that the West prefers not to notice Ankara's violations.
"No one in the West notices the actions of the Turkish side which has already transferred to Syria's Idlib forces as large as a mechanized division in order to 'implement the Sochi agreements at any cost,'" TASS cited Konashenkov as saying.
The Sochi agreement between Russian and Turkey from September 2018 envisages establishing a buffer zone 15-20 km from the borders of the Idlib de-escalation zone, in order to disengage militants in Idlib and Syrian government forces.
Russia has repeatedly stated that Turkey had not fulfilled its commitments on "ousting terrorists" from the demilitarized zone.Turkey should go to Damascus, put a sack over Assad's head if diplomacy fails, Erdoğan's ally says
Konashenkov said that Turkey's observation posts in Idlib were located in "the fortified areas of terrorist groups and practically merged with them."
"Fortified areas of terrorists have practically merged with Turkish observation posts set up in accordance with the agreement," Konashenkov noted.
Terrorist groups Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Islamic Party of Turkestan and Hurras al-Din have been ousting militants from the "moderate opposition" to the Turkish border in the north for the last 18 months, he added.
The spokesperson noted that Russian air base in Hmeymim and Syrian cities have been subjected to daily shelling by militants because Turkey had not fulfilled its commitments on establishing a demilitarized area in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
"Attacks and massive artillery shellings of neighboring peaceful settlements and of the Russian air base Hmeymim have turned from sporadic into daily," Konashenkov said.Russia sends another warship to Syria through Bosphorus amid Idlib escalation