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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Militants Blocked Humanitarian Corridor From Idlib De-Escalation Zone - Russian Military

Sputnik News

01:13 16.09.2019(updated 01:23 16.09.2019)

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Militants blocked a humanitarian corridor from the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, Maj. Gen. Alexey Bakin, head of the Russian centre for Syrian reconciliation, said at a briefing on Sunday.

"Illegal armed groups in the Idlib de-escalation zone blocked the work of the Abu al-Duhur humanitarian corridor, preventing refugees from exiting through the Syrian government-owned checkpoint," he said.

On Saturday, Syrian state television reported that the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as the Nusra Front, was not letting civilians leave parts of Idlib Province under its control.

On the same day, Bakin revealed that "the so-called [Rukban] camp administration, controlled by illegal armed units issued a statement refusing admission to the camp for UN buses to evacuate temporarily displaced persons wishing to leave Rukban."

The Rukban camp houses some 25,000 people in conditions described by the World Health Organization as "deplorable" - lacking food, access to medical care and basic amenities. The camp is located in the US-controlled zone around its unauthorized Al-Tanf military base, making it almost impossible for humanitarian workers to gain access to the area.

On 31 August, the Syrian army unilaterally halted the fighting in the Idlib de-escalation zone. The truce was announced by the Russian military, which called on the leaders of armed groups operating in Idlib to stop staging provocations and to join the peace process.

Upcoming Summit in Ankara

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani, in Ankara to discuss the issues of peace settlement in Syria within the framework of the Astana peace process.

The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran will touch upon a number of issues related to the Syrian peace process, such as the situation in the country's north, especially in the province of Idlib, where militants still control large swaths of territory despite recent successes by the Syrian military.

The sides to the talks are also due to discuss political solutions to the Syrian crisis, first and foremost the creation of the Constitutional Committee, mandated by the decision of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress that assembled in the Russian city of Sochi in January 2018, and also the humanitarian situation in the country, including helping returning refugees and restoring basic infrastructure.

Apart from the trilateral discussion, Putin will also hold separate meetings with Erdogan and Rouhani, during which he intends to discuss Moscow cooperation with Ankara and Tehran and other important issues.

Putin is expected to discuss with Rouhani the current state of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as Tehran stopped complying with some of its commitments under the nuclear deal on May 8, the one-year anniversary of the withdrawal from the agreement by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

The Russian leader will also negotiate defense industry cooperation with Erdogan, who showed considerable interest in Russia's cutting-edge military technology during a visit to MAKS-2019 aviation and space salon.

The first meeting between the leaders of Russia, Turkey, and Iran on Syria took place in Sochi in 2017 and since then has been occurring on a regular basis. The upcoming summit will be the fifth.


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