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Syria UN Envoy: We Won’t Allow Idlib to Turn Into Terrorist Stronghold

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Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari said the Damascus government will not allow foreign-sponsored terrorists to turn the embattled northwestern province of Idlib into a new haven for themselves.

“Idlib is part of Syria, and it is natural for the Syrian government to fight terrorism in order to rid its nation from the scourge and establish full sovereignty over its soil,” al-Ja’afari said at the United Nations Security Council [UNSC] meeting in New York City on Friday.

Under a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish and Russian Presidents in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on September 17, all militants in a demilitarized zone, which surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, and terrorist groups had to withdraw by October 15.

The National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant alliance in the Idlib region, but the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [HTS] terrorist group, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits, largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

The HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib province, has yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 members of different factions of armed groups, which Syria, Russia and Turkey consider terrorists, are active in the volatile province, which is home to around three million inhabitants.

Al-Ja'afari added that the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] “is targeting anything in Syria but not terror groups.”

“We are surprised that the UN Special Envoy to Syria [Staffan de Mistura] has ignored the crimes of this coalition against Syrian people. The illegal US-led international coalition continues to perpetrate crimes in Syria, the last of which was in the villages of al-Sousa and al-Bubadran, where 62 civilians lost their lives,” al-Ja’afari pointed out.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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