Over 10,000 militants in the provinces of Homs, Hama and Idlib are ready to negotiate with Russia ways to cooperate against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported citing Saleh Naimi, the head of the National Council for Peace and Reconciliation in Syria.
According to the report, the opposition members are ready to fight Hayat Tahrir al-Sham if they are direclty supported by Russia. Naimi said that the number of militants that are ready to participate in the effort exceeds 10,000.
“Under our guidance they (the militants) has established a coordinating political Committee,” he said adding that the established council has a desiere to hold a meeting in Ankara between the armed opposition and the Russian side.
He also added that the same militants and commanders are ready to participate in the “liberation of Deir Ezzor”. However, this statement looks very questionable.
If the report is confirmed, it will likely mark another round of cooepration between Turkey and Russia over the conflict. It’s easy to note that Turkey has a large influence on militant groups operating in Idlib, Hama and Homs. In this case, any cooperation against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will contribute to growing Ankara’s influence in these areas.