Jaysh al-Izza, one of the biggest Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in northwestern Syria, has welcomed the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement on the northwestern governorate of Idlib, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi reported on September 20.
“All the thanks to our Turkish brothers who prevented warplanes and bombers from targeting our civilian people and all the shame and disgrace to those who left the Syrian people in the middle of the road and disappointed women and children,” Jamil al-Salih, leader of Jaysh al-Izza, said in a tweet.
The group, which is stationed in the northern and northwestern Hama countryside, is considered a key ally of the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The U.S. supported the group for years before ending its aid in late 2017.
Earlier, several Syrian pro-opposition activists claimed that Jaysh al-Izza, HTS and the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) had rejected the Russian-Turkish agreement. However, these groups have not officially commented on the matter yet. Al-Salih’s statement also contributes to a confirmation that not all of these claims were accurate.
Under the agreement, a 15-20km demilitarized zone will be established by Turkey and Russia around Idlib. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu stated that all weapons have to be withdrawn from the zone by October 10 and radical groups have to withdraw their forces from there by October 15.