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Militant groups are constantly violating the ceasefire regime in the Idlib de-escalation zone, the Russian Centre for Reconciliation said in a statement on August 21. According to the statement, the ceasefire were violated in at least 17 villages and settlements in western Aleppo, northern Latakia and northern Hama.
The Center also said that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) is sabotaging any peaceful dialogue between the opposition and the government as well as has started preparation for own offensive on government positions in southern Idlib.
Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, a leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, visited a contact line between militants and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Latakia. The appearance of al-Jolani in the area once again shows that the terrorist group remains the most powerful force in the militant-held part of Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia provinces. Earlier some powers involved in the conflict argued that there is no Hayat Tahrir al-Sham presence in these areas.
While the SAA is deploying additional reinforcements in northern Hama and Latakia preparing for expected battle against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in northwestern Syria, the US, the UK and France have once again resumed their propaganda campaign to accuse the Syrian government of carrying out chemical attacks against civilians.
On August 21, three countries released a joint statement condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Damascus government. “As Permanent Members of the Security Council, we reaffirm our shared resolve to preventing the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime, and for holding them accountable for any such use,” the statement said adding that the US, the UK and France “will respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime” in fact threatening Syria with new attacks.
Experts expect that if the Idlib operation of the SAA is started, the chemical weapons issue may be once again used by militants and their supporters to justify military actions against government forces by foreign powers.