Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is disarming moderate factions and occupying their positions in the region of Greater Idlib, Alexander Grinkevich, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, revealed on November 6.
In a press briefing, the commander warned that HTS and its allies may be planning to sabotage the Russian-Turkish agreement on the region, which was reached on March 5.
“Terrorists from HTS on the line of contact with government forces in the Jebel-Zawiya area in the south of Idlib province disarm moderate militants and occupy their positions,” Grinkevich said, “this may indicate that irreconcilable groups are planning to further aggravate the situation in order to disrupt the implementation of the Russian-Turkish agreements.”
Grinkevich revealed that 39 Syrian service members were killed and at least 40 others were wounded since October 1 in attacks launched by Greater Idlib militants.
The Russian commander also denied recent media reports, claiming that Russian forces and the Syrian military are shelling civilian settlements in Greater Idlib.
HTS and its allies have been violating the Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib for a while now. This may lead to a serious military escalation in the region soon. Turkey, which maintains a fairly large force in Greater Idlib, is yet to act against HTS to prevent such a scenario.
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