On December 27, the chief of the Russian General Staff, Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov announced plants to eliminate the remaining members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in 2018.
“Some members of this terrorist organization operate in de-escalation zones,” Gerasimov said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. “Jabhat al-Nusra fiercely opposes [the ceasefire]. Therefore, they must be eliminated.”
According to Gen. Gerasimov, the next year’s developments will include the eilimination of the terrorist group.
“I think that they will be done with after a while,” he said.
He added that political settlement in the country, including preparations for the upcoming Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, are among other important tasks for the next year.
On the same day, the Syrian Tiger Forces launched an attack on position of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in southern Idlib and liberated Aswad Hill, Mazraat Qahirah, Ras al-Ain, Qubaybat Abu al-Huda and the Abandoned Air Defense Base.