Syria’s state-owned al-Watan daily quoted a sources close to Tahrir al-Sham as disclosing that Ankara forces have hand over the demilitarized zone, spread from Northeastern Lattakia to Western and Southern Idlib, Northwestern Hama and Western Aleppo to Tahrir al-Sham and its allies.
It further said the move comes as the Turkish army plans to move to the East to launch a large-scale assault on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tal Abyadh region in Northern Raqqa and other border regions on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
The daily went on to say that recent attack on the Syrian Army by Tahrir al-Sham, deployed in the demilitarized zone in Northeastern Lattakia and Northern Hama, is yet another proof showing the agreement between Ankara and Tahrir al-Sham to hand over the zone to the latter over a month after the deadline for the terrorists’ withdrawal from the zone under the Sochi Agreement ended.
According to the deadline the terrorists including Tahrir al-Sham should have evacuated the demilitarized zone or face repercussions that included a joint attack by the Syria and Russian army assisted by Turkey.
The move by the terrorists is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.
Colonel Mar’ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency as saying on Monday that Tahrir al-Sham is in control of nearly 70% of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes provocative moves against the Syrian army, adding that the army’s commitment to decrease tensions is not lasting forever.
He added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of Idlib.
Hamdan said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and underlined that the Syrian army’s battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.
Meantime, the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.
Tahrir al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.
Relevant reports said last Sunday that the Turkey-backed NLF had put its gunmen on alert to launch a heavy offensive against the Syrian army in the demilitarized zone in Idlib province.
The Arabic-language al-Watan reported that the Turkey-backed NLF had kept its fighters in and outside the demilitarized zone, envisioned in the Sochi Agreement, on alert for imminent war against the army.