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Syrian Militants Refuse to Peacefully Surrender City in Idlib Province - Official

© AFP 2021 / OMAR HAJ KADOURA rebel fighter fires heavy artillery during clashes with government forces and pro-regime shabiha militiamen in the outskirts of Syria's northwestern Idlib province on September 18, 2015
A rebel fighter fires heavy artillery during clashes with government forces and pro-regime shabiha militiamen in the outskirts of Syria's northwestern Idlib province on September 18, 2015 - Sputnik International
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DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - The militants controlling the Syrian city of Maarat al-Numan in the Idlib province have refused to give it up peacefully during negotiations with the Syrian government, Omar Rahmon, a member of the National Reconciliation Committee, said on Wednesday.
"The terrorist groups that are active in Maarat al-Numan have refused to initiate any reconciliation [process], despite the civilians' strong desire to rejoin the government", Rahmon said in an interview with the newspaper.

According to him, the militants hope for Turkish support and to take advantage of the worsened weather conditions.

"In light of the virtual impossibility of a truce, the fighting will continue until Maarat al-Numan will be brought back under Damascus' control", Rahmon stated.

On Monday, Rahmon told the Syrian al-Watan newspaper that the Syrian authorities were negotiating the city's surrender, but the chances of that were slim. He accused the militants that run the city of acting on the orders of Turkey.

© AFP 2021 / Mohamed al-Bakour Syrian northwestern city of Idlib.
Syrian Militants Refuse to Peacefully Surrender City in Idlib Province - Official - Sputnik International
Syrian northwestern city of Idlib.

Idlib remains a major terrorist stronghold, being home to an estimated 10,000 jihadists from various factions, according to the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. In November, President Bashar Assad announced that Idlib's liberation would not take much time, but noted that the government wanted to give civilians the opportunity to leave the area.

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