Turkish Govt. Integrating Terrorist Groups in Idlib says report
Syria’s Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the terrorists as saying on Thursday that the Turkish military and intelligence officials have promised the ringleaders of Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din Zinki and the so-called National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist groups that they will merge them along with Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) within the framework of a military organization.
They added that Turkey has also promised them to set up a parliament and an autonomous government after dissolution of Tahrir al-Sham in territories occupied by the militants, adding that Faylaq al-Sham which has recently been joined by 18 other terrorist groups in Northern Idlib and Western Aleppo is due to be the political branch of the new organization and Tahrir al-Sham will take the responsibility for its military wing.
The military experts warned that Turkey’s measures are against the Sochi agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Northern Syria and the Turkish president’s promises to his Russian counterpart in the last week meeting in Moscow, adding that the move by Ankara has left the Syrian army with the only option of cleansing Tahrir al-Sham from the demilitarized zone.
Similar reports earlier this month also said that the terrorists of Tahrir al-Sham are pursuing the new scenario to establish a new integrated military organization in Idlib after the terrorist group extended its presence in the province in cooperation with Turkey.
“The terrorists of the National Liberation Front (NFL) affiliated to the Turkish Army will soon be dissolved in Tahrir al-Sham as the militant groups have agreed to form an integrated military structure,” the Arabic-language Enab Baladi affiliated to militants quoted a source close to Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) as saying.
The source noted that the scenario started after Tahrir al-Sham’s dominance over most of Idlib’s regions.
He said that according to the plan, Idlib province will be divided into two sections in political and military terms; the Ankara-backed Faylaq al-Sham terrorists will take charge of the political affairs and Tahrir al-Sham will represent the military wing.
Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohammad Julani had previously called for setting up integrated military formation in Idlib province with the partnership of all terrorist groups once again, after he voiced full support for Turkey’s assault on Kurdish militants.
Tahrir al-Sham, enjoying Ankara’s support, has recently gained control over 9,000 square kilometers of lands in Aleppo, Lattakia and Idlib provinces.