Russia and Turkey agreed to prepare an operation against the militant group al-Nusrah Front, in the Syrian region of Idlib, together with forces of the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, stated the Russian Minister of Foreign Affair, Sergey Lavrov, TASS reports.
“I very much hope that our partners in the West will indulge in provocations and dramatizations, and will not oppose the antiterrorist operations in the de-escalation zone against the al-Nusrah Front,” he said.
Idlib, a refuge for civilians and rebels who migrated from other areas of Syria, as well as powerful jihadist forces, was struck by a wave of air strikes and shelling this month, in a possible prelude to a full-scale government offensive.
The US warned against any use of chemical or biological weapons and promised a “powerful response,” in the case of an attack in Idlib. Turkey, which established military posts in Idlib, urged Moscow to abandon mass bombings in the region.
"Russia stands for dissociating the Syrian opposition from militants in Idlib and simultaneously conducting a military operation against al-Nursah Front,” declared the minister of Foreign Affairs. He stated that armed opposition is ready for discussions with Assad.
“There is a complete political understanding between Moscow and Ankara. There is a need to urgently separate the regular armed oppositionists from bandits from the al-Nusrah Front and simultaneously prepare an operation against these terrorists, doing everything to minimize the risks for the civilian population” Lavrov stressed.
Meanwhile, NATO confirms the massive build-up of Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria. In turn, the Russian Ministry of Defense states that the United States is concentering warships equipped with cruise missiles in the Middle East.
In April, the Trump administration assembled a coalition of American, French and British forces to attack targets associated with the production of chemical weapons owned by the Syrian government.