Members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group, have reportedly moved banned chlorine and sarin munitions to a strategically important city in Syria’s militant-held northwestern province of Idlib as government forces are preparing to retake the last major terrorist stronghold in the country.
Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the extremists moved the ammunition from the small city of Ma’arrat Misrin, located 50 kilometers southwest of Aleppo, to the city of Jisr al-Shughour.
The sources added that the munitions were transported inside a refrigerator truck used by the so-called civil defense group White Helmets, and under the supervision of the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria (TIP) militants.
Car bomb blast kills 4, injures nearly dozen in Idlib
Meanwhile, at least four people have lost their lives and eleven others sustained injuries when a car rigged with explosives went off in Idlib city.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the explosion ripped through the area mostly inhabited by Uzbek militants, noting that the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition.
Under a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin 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 Takfiri 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 Takfiri 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 Takfiri 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.
Russia believes that a buffer zone would help stop attacks from Idlib-based militants on Syrian army positions and Russia’s military bases in the flashpoint region.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.