Situation in Syria and peacekeeping activities were in focus of a meeting between United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the United Nations press office said on Thursday.
"Today, the Secretary-General met with H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. They discussed the situation in Syria, with the Secretary-General welcoming the agreement reached on 17 September to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib," the press office said. "The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister also exchanged views on the Action for Peacekeeping and other peace and security issues."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres© AP Photo/Craig Ruttle.
The September 17 talks between the Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Russia’s Sochi yielded and agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib, along the contact line between government troops and the opposition by October 15. At Ankara’s initiative, it is planned to withdraw the opposition’s tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems and mortars from this zone by October 10. Control in this zone will be exercised by mobile patrol groups of Turkish troops and unites of Russian military police.
Idlib is the only large region in Syria that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was established in Idlib to give shelter to militants and their families who are reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms.
According to United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, about 10,000 Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda (both outlawed in Russia) militants are currently staying in the region. When Damascus finally regains control of the governorate, it will put an end to the large-scale armed confrontation in Syria.