0943 GMT April 08, 2020
The Kremlin made its comments after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country's military would strike Syrian forces by air or ground anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier was hurt during a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at the parliament in Ankara on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Violence has flared in Idlib, in northwest Syria and bordering Turkey, in recent weeks as the Syrian Army and allied forces have made gains in their campaign to eliminate the last terrorist bastion in Syria's nine-year-old war.
Turkey, which is allied with some groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, mounted a counterattack on Tuesday after 13 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian shelling in Idlib in the last 10 days.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Moscow remained committed to a deal on Syria it had struck with Ankara, but that Russia considered militant attacks in Idlib to be unacceptable and in contravention of that same agreement.
Brokered by Iran, Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government, hashed out a deal with Turkey in 2018, known as the Sochi agreement, to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib, but those agreements and others between the two countries have come under strain amid mounting tensions in the region.
"In particular, according to this document (the agreement), the Turkish side undertook to ensure that terrorist groups in Idlib were neutralized," said Peskov.
"We continue to note with regret that these groups are carrying out strikes from Idlib on Syrian forces and also taking aggressive action against our military facilities," Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
"This is unacceptable and runs contrary to the Sochi agreements."
Separately on Wednesday, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan had discussed the de-escalation of the tensions in Syria over the phone and emphasized the full implementation of Moscow-Ankara agreements, according to Press TV.
“The importance was noted of the full implementation of existing Russian-Turkish agreements, including the Sochi memorandum,” it said in a statement after the phone call.
The leaders, it added, reviewed “various aspects of the settlement of the Syrian crisis, first and foremost in the context of a flare-up in the Idlib de-escalation zone.”
Issuing a statement on Tuesday, the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces censured Turkey's continued escalation of "aggressive acts and transgressions upon Syrian geography in violation of international law and the concept of the sovereignty of independent states in an attempt to halt the advance of the Syrian Arab Army and to prevent the fall of armed terrorist groups in Idlib and west of Aleppo."
"The Turkish regime has deployed new military forces and escalated its aggression intensively, targeting areas populated by civilians and positions of the army units with rocket shells to help the terrorists maintain control over territory, keep using civilians as human shields, and carry out systematic crimes and vandalism," added the statement.
The Syrian government has retook control of all but one area in Syria since militancy began in the country back in 2011, namely Idlib.
On Tuesday, there were reports that Syrian Army forces had managed to wrest control of the M5 highway connecting the capital Damascus to the second largest city Aleppo.
In addition, Syrian and Turkish media said on Wednesday that US warplanes carried out at least one airstrike in Syria’s northeast Hasakah region after an incident at a checkpoint where US soldiers killed one person.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said one civilian was killed and another wounded when US forces opened fire on people after their vehicles were stopped at a checkpoint, east of Qamishli.
It said the shooting was followed by an airstrike on a village in rural Qamishli, near the border with Turkey. Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu Agency said two airstrikes took place.