Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 November 2019

Syria opposition calls for 'radical solution' in Idlib

Hayat Tahrir Al Sham sealed its grip on the province on Thursday when it reached a ceasefire deal

Hayat Tahrir Al Sham fighters in Syria's Idlib province last year. AFP
Hayat Tahrir Al Sham fighters in Syria's Idlib province last year. AFP

A leading Syrian opposition body called Sunday for a "radical solution" to overcome a powerful militant group which dominates Idlib province, the last rebel bastion in the country.

Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) sealed its grip on Idlib on Thursday, when it reached a ceasefire deal with what was left of a rival alliance following days of deadly fighting.

Dominated by Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate, HTS has proclaimed a Salvation Government to administer most of Idlib province and parts of neighbouring provinces of Aleppo and Hama.

Syria's National Coalition, the leading opposition body, slammed HTS's attempts to "get its hands on" the whole region.

"It's necessary to find a radical solution which puts an end to its presence in Idlib and in any other regions," the coalition said in a statement at the conclusion of a meeting on the latest developments in Syria.

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Idlib has been protected by a buffer zone implemented under a Turkish-Russian deal reached in September, to prevent a regime offensive to retake the northern region from rebels.

As part of the deal, militants such as HTS were supposed to withdraw from the planned demilitarised area by mid-October but never did.

The HTS takeover revives the threat of a Syrian offensive, prompting the National Coalition to call for an agreement with Turkey to protect civilians.

"And prevent the regime and its supporters, the Russians and the Iranians, to lead a genocide under the pretext of the terrorist presence in the region."

Updated: January 14, 2019 11:47 AM

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