BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 A.M.) – In an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV, the political and media adviser to the Syrian presidency, Buthaina Sha’aban, said that the recent agreement between the Russian and Turkish presidents in Moscow paves way for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to retake several areas in the Idlib Governorate.
According to the presidential adviser, the Moscow agreement allows for the Syrian Arab Army to take hold of the strategic cities of Ariha and Jisr Al-Shughour, which are currently under the control of both the jihadist rebels and Turkish-backed militants.
While the Moscow agreement did call for a governorate wide ceasefire, Sha’aban argued that the ceasefire does not apply to terrorist groups.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), which is the largest jihadist group in Syria and the most powerful force in Idlib, has yet to move their forces from the area south of the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia).
Furthermore, their allies from the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) have also refused to withdraw from the area.
If these groups do not withdraw by March 15th, there is a good chance the Syrian Arab Army resumed their Idlib offensive.