Militants from Al-Nusra Front* have rejected Turkey’s demand for dissolution of the terrorist group’s units in Idlib province in Syria’s northwest, according to the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan.
The developments came after Ankara demanded that al-Nusra Front militants join the so-called “Northern Syrian Army,” which is being formed by the Turkish military.
Also, Turkey urged al-Nusra Front’s foreign mercenaries to return to the countries from which they arrived and surrender to the law enforcement agencies there.
Al-Watan reported that Ankara also plans to use the recently established National Liberation Front, made up of several rebel groups, to drive al-Nusra Front terrorists out of Idlib.
Last week, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad estimated that Idlib province was currently home to “tens of thousands of terrorists,” stressing that the province was among the top priority areas for Syrian military’s operations.
The statement came as a source told Sputnik that the Syrian Army was sending military equipment and ammunition to the borders of Idlib province and preparing for a large-scale operation to clear the area of terrorists.
In February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that “after we defeat the terrorists in Afrin, we will defeat them in Idlib too,” adding that Turkey is committed to clearing the north-western areas of Syria from terrorists in order to ensure the return of refugees to their homeland.
Over the last three years, militants from Aleppo, East Ghouta, Daraa province and other regions have been evacuated to Idlib under agreements with the Syrian government. With the liberation of broad areas of southern Syria earlier this month, Idlib province has become one of the last anti-government strongholds in the country.
Source: Sputnik, Al-Watan