Syrian opposition: HTS will leave Idlib demilitarized zone

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Thursday 27 September 2018 | 11:11 PM Damascus Time

Turkey HTSIdlibRussian-Turkish agreementAssad regieSyrian opposition

  • Syrian opposition: HTS will leave Idlib demilitarized zone

    Baladi News - Media

    Syrian mainstream opposition groups said on Thursdaythey have growing confidence that their jihadist rivals will comply with a requirement to leave a demilitarized buffer zone set up by Turkey and Russia under a deal that averted a Russian-backed Assad militias offensive.

    A senior Syrian opposition official said the most powerful jihadist group in the Northwest, Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) had sent secret feelers to the Turkish army though third parties in the last few days signalling they would comply.

    “Matters are moving well and Tahrir al Sham has pledged it is going to implement but without announcing its agreement,” said the opposition official, who was briefed by Turkish officials and requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

    Tahrir al Sham has yet to declare its stance on the deal, and its position will be critical to its success.

    A regional intelligence source said the jihadists were softening their stance to avoid deadly internecine fighting with mainstream opposition that could wreck the deal and allow the Assad militias and its Russian ally to resume their stalled offensive.

    “I don’t expect any hurdles in implementation from all the revolutionary forces at all,” said Abdul Salam Abdul Razzak, a leading figure in the National Front for Liberation, the alliance of Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    Turkish President Erdogan said in an interview with Reuters late on Tuesday that the withdrawal of “radical groups” had already started.

    Several opposition sources said none of the groups, either jihadist or mainstream opposition, had started to pull back.

    The National Front for Liberation, which had declared its “complete cooperation” with the Turkish effort, said it foresaw a smooth operation once logistical preparations with Turkey were concluded.

    Source: Orient Net

    Turkey HTSIdlibRussian-Turkish agreementAssad regieSyrian opposition