Lavrov calls possible cooperation with US on Idlib 'unproductive'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated at a press conference in Vienna on Friday on the results of his participation in the meeting of the 2017 OSCE Ministerial Council that Moscow and Washington are not planning cooperation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

"Idlib remains a difficult situation, and we, above all, together with our Turkish, Iranian (as Russia, Turkey and Iran are the guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria) and Syrian colleagues, are working to launch functioning de-escalation zones with maximum effectiveness in this part of the Syrian Arab Republic. There are no plans for the United States in this particular region of Syria. I think it would be absolutely unproductive," he said.

Four de-escalation zones have been created in Syria since the beginning of May, in line with an agreement reached by Russian, Iranian and Turkish representatives in Astana. In mid-September, the guarantor countries announced that all zones were in operation. A fourth zone, which includes the province of Idlib and parts of the neighboring provinces of Aleppo, Latakia and Hama, has been added to the initial three, which were operating in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus), Deraa province, and in Homs province.

On December 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the complete defeat of the Islamic state (IS) on both banks of the Euphrates. He noted that there could still be isolated pockets of resistance, but on the whole, activity in this territory had ended with the "defeat of the terrorists".

  Sergey Lavrov, Syria, Idlib, Russia