National Army: "We are ready to launch military operation with Turkey against HTS"
Turkey - SMART
On Thursday, the Syrian National Army of the Syrian Interim Government said that it would be ready to launch a military operation in cooperation with Turkey against the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) if it continues its violations and attacks in Northern Syria.
The spokesman for the National Army, Major Yousef Hammoud, reported that it is necessary for the HTS to stop adopting policies that would make the international community consider Northern Syria to be controlled by a terrorist group. The HTS also has to find a solution to the foreign fighters issue especially hardliners, including those in Idlib.
Hammoud added, “It is necessary for the HTS to take steps to prove its previous declaration to disengage from Al-Qaeda.”
On the possibility of an agreement between Turkey and Russia to launch a joint operation against the HTS in Idlib, Hammoud said, “The National Army considers the Russian forces’ presence in Syria an occupation, and can not cooperate with them in a joint operation.” Hammoud suspected that there is air coordination between Turkey and Russia to prevent clashes between the two parties in the region, in the event of a military operation against the HTS.
Hammoud stated that Russia is trying to amend the agreement signed between Turkish and Russian presidents in September 2018, so the Syrian government forces can seize more areas outside their control. However, the Turkish authorities are still seeking to maintain the agreement and the stability of Idlib.
Hammoud that if there are negotiations between Turkey and the HTS, that will aim to impose the Turkish decision on the HTS, and not to bring close the views of the parties. Hammoud stressed that there are no negotiations between the HTS and the National Army.
Meanwhile, the HTS imposes its military and administrative control on Northern Syria, as part of an agreement with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to end the clashes between them, in addition to the recognition of the Salvation Government control. The agreement also included undeclared items, including the FSA factions to hand over their heavy weapons and some of their checkpoints.