Participants in anti-terrorist operation in Idlib not identified yet, says Kremlin

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© EPA/Nabil Mounzer

ANKARA, February 18. /TASS/. No participants in a potential operation against the terrorist organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (one of the names of Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia) have been identified yet, Russian presidential spokesman told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News in an interview.

“We do need an operation, but we have to decide on whether it will be Turkey’s operation or some other countries’. We should not hope to make a deal with the children of Ahrar al-Sham. That is a false hope, they are terrorists, they are al-Nusra, they are the children of al-Qaeda. It does not matter whether or not they change their names,” Peskov said.

He pointed to the need for preventing another influx of refugees into neighboring Turkey.

“If hundreds of thousands of refugees flee to Turkey, that is bad. We should prevent that. However, we should not put all solution processes in Syria at risk,” he said.

In the meantime, after the February 14 summit meeting of Russia, Turkey and Iran over Syrian settlement Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not rule out the possibility of conducting a joint operation with Russia and Iran against militants in the de-escalation zone Idlib.

On September 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan agreed to create by October 15 a 15-20-kilometer wide demilitarized zone along the disengagement line between Syrian government troops and the armed opposition in Idlib. Ankara later asked for giving it more time and for postponing joint patrol operations due to its inability to guarantee security.

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