Munich Security Conference: Lavrov insists on eliminating terrorists in Idlib, Lebanese defense minister tells his Turkish counterpart that Lebanon rejects the Turkish military presence in Syria

The Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab told his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, Lebanon’s reservations about Ankara’s declaration of a “safe zone” in northern Syria, saying that any Turkish presence in Syria without Damascus’s consent is an occupation.

Bu Saab met with his Turkish counterpart, Akar, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, and discussed the safe area between Syria and Turkey, and expressed his reservation on this subject, saying that “the safe area will not be the desired solution, but it will become a safe haven for terrorists”.

“Any Turkish presence on Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian state is unwelcome and illegal and is considered an occupation”, the Lebanese minister said.

Bou Saab also asked his counterpart, Akar, to help and cooperate in order to uncover the fate of the kidnapped bishops on the Turkish-Syrian border that Akar promised to follow up the matter through his country’s intelligence and to provide the Lebanese Minister with follow-up procedures.

This comes in line with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s speech to the heads of the local councils in the Syrian provinces, in which he reiterated his rejection of Turkey’s establishment of a buffer zone in the north of the country.

“Every inch in Syria will be liberated and we’ll deal with the foreign forces as occupation forces”.

Turkey wants to establish a “safe area” with logistical support from the allies after the withdrawal of US forces from Syria, and says that this region should be free of units to protect the Syrian Kurdish people, supported by the United States, which Ankara considers a “terrorist group”.

On the other hand, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated the need to eliminate the epicenter of terrorism in Idlib, noting that “there can be endless patience for the presence of terrorists in it”.

Lavrov said during a speech at the Munich Security Conference that the three guarantors of the Astana process “agreed at their recent summit in Sochi to launch a step-by-step mechanism to purge Idlib of terrorist organizations”, pointing out that a precise plan will be developed to save the lives of civilians, When the city of Raqqa was destroyed under the pretext of fighting a terrorist organization.

The US-led illegal review coalition destroyed the entire city of Raqqa, committed brutal massacres against its own people, and abandoned tens of thousands of them, claiming to fight the terrorist organization that the facts proved to have received support and protection from Washington.

The leaders of the Guarantor States (Russia, Iran and Turkey) reaffirmed in the final communiqué of the summit held in Sochi, Russia, on their firm commitment to Syria’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and to continue combating terrorism.

In another context, Lavrov said that Russia would try to organize substantive consultations with the United States to extend the Strategic Offensive Arms Convention and said: “We’re ready to start negotiations on the extension of this agreement, although the agreement ends in 2021 but the time is fast”.