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Report: Former al-Qaida Syria Branch Should Be Included in Cease-Fire

WASHINGTON - A powerful Islamist militant group should be included in a Russian-Turkish deal to sustain a cease-fire and prevent a new humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria, said an international conflict prevention group.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) said in report, released Friday, that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an armed group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Russia and Turkey, is too entrenched to be defeated militarily without killing a large number of civilians in the restive Syrian province of Idlib.

“All actors should seek a more sustainable cease-fire -- optimally including HTS, notwithstanding legitimate concerns about the group – that avoids the high military, political and humanitarian price of another offensive,” the report said.

HTS is a former al-Qaida branch in Syria. It was previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.

With about 20,000 fighting members, it is considered the most dominant militant group in Idlib, a last major rebel stronghold for Syrian rebels. The U.N. says nearly 2.6 million civilians live in the enclave. Rights groups have accused HTS of committing war crimes in Syria’s conflict.

Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

16 2020 11:48 -
2 July 2020 | 15:33
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