An internal disagreement has emerged between the “moderate” and “radical” wings within Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) leadership over accepting or rejecting the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement on the governorate of Idlib, the Syrian news outlet Enab Baladi reported on September 28.
A source familiar with the situation told Enab Baladi that the moderate wing wants to withdraw HTS forces from the demilitarized zone, which will be established around Idlib under the deconfliction agreement. However, the radicals within the group leadership are against this move.
According to a statement by Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, all heavy weapons should be withdrawn from the demilitarized zone by October 10, while the radical groups should be forced out from the zone before October 15.
Enab Baladi said that the Turkish military may launch a military operation in the demilitarize zone, if the radical groups, including HTS, don’t withdraw from it before the deadline.
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups have accepted the Russian-Turkish agreement along with other groups like Jaysh al-Izza, a key ally of HTS. However, the implementation of the agreement will be impossible without cooperation with HTS.