National Army: “HTS expansion in Northern Syria puts pressure on Turkish-Russian ceasefire agreements”

Editing Raed Borhan | Translation Nouha Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 27, 2019, 10:51:20 PM wire MILITARYPOLITICS Free Syrian Army

Aleppo - SMART

On Sunday, the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army said that the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham's (HTS) recent expansion in Northern Syria puts pressure on the Turkish-Russian ceasefire agreements reached during the Astana Talks.

Yousef Hamoud, the National Army spokesman, reported to SMART that Russia urged Turkey to fight terrorism in the Idlib governorate, adding, “Russia started to reduce the de-escalation agreement and seize parts of Idlib on the pretext of fighting terrorism."

In the beginning of 2019, the HTS gained control of dozens of towns in the western Aleppo countryside and in the Idlib governorate after clashes with Free Syrian Army. The HTS transferred the control of the area to the Salvation Government.

Hamoud also said, “Turkey managed to win Idlib and prevent Russia from gaining ground in the area. Later, Moscow ruined the Turkish-US initiative to create a safe zone in Northern Syria, and presented the Syrian government as a substitute for the US forces after they announced their withdrawal.”

Hamoud added that Turkey rejected Russia's suggestion to allow Turkey to enter 5 to 7 kilometers into Syrian territory on the border between Turkey and Syria.

Hamoud confirmed that the National Army is prepared to defend the city of Manbij in Aleppo in accordance with political agreements in the area.   

Turkey postponed a military operation that was announced earlier to expel the Syrian Democratic Forces from Manbij and areas east of the Euphrates River after the US forces decided to withdraw from the area. Later, the US President Donald Trump suggested establishing a safe zone in the area.

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Editing Raed Borhan | Translation Nouha Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 27, 2019, 10:51:20 PM wire MILITARYPOLITICS Free Syrian Army
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