Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya has urged his colleagues in the UN Security Council "not to bury the Astana process."
At the session of the Security Council on Thursday, representatives from Germany, France and other countries urged Russia and Turkey to start talks in order to stop an escalation in Syria's Idlib. US Ambassador Kelly Craft accused Russia and Iran of making the situation worse, while Estonia’s UN Ambassador Sven Jurgenson expressed an opinion that the Astana format had failed.
"We ask you not to paint everything in black and white, not to stay mum on the other aspect of the matter, not to build up political pressure. Don’t rush to bury the Astana format. Like many other countries, we are working with the Syrian side to settle the existing difficulties," the Russian diplomat stressed.
The situation in Idlib has escalated at the start of February after Russian and Turkish militaries made another attempt to impose a ceasefire regime, but terrorists only stepped up their attacks in response. Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara is ready to use its full combat power in case an operation in Idlib is needed. Erdogan said that the start of a military campaign in Idlib is only a matter of time and that all preparations have been made, TASS reports.
Idlib is the only region of Syria that is still mostly controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was set up there, and militants who refused to lay down arms in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and in southern parts of Syria moved there.