21:39 GMT22 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The terrorists in the Syrian Idlib province are likely to be moved to the Jisr al-Shughur in order to reduce casualties among the civilians, representative of Astana opposition platform Mahmoud Afandi told Sputnik Monday.

    "Most likely, all terrorists will be moved to one area – Jisr al-Shughur. This place already now has almost no civilians," Afandi said.

    The opposition member noted that the main issue would be how to remove terrorists from the city of Idlib.

    "The main question now is how to remove Nusra* from the city of Idlib… For civilians, corridors will be opened," he added.

    While the Syrian government has eliminated terrorists in vast territories of the country, Idlib is still occupied by the militants. Since late August, tensions have escalated in the region, with Russia claiming that terrorists were preparing a false-flag chemical attack there, set to provoke a western retaliatory strike. The West, meanwhile, tends to believe that it is Damascus that plans to carry out an attack against civilians.

    According to the United Nations, Idlib is the base for approximately 10,000 members of the Nusra Front and Al Qaeda* terrorist groups.

    Turkey Influences Opposition Groups in Idlib to Separate From Terrorists

    The opposition representative also noted that Ankara was trying to make moderate opposition fight against terrorists in the region.

    "Erdogan has the intention of reconciliation. Already now Turkey is actively influencing armed groups on the ground in Idlib to make them reconcile and agree to fight against Nusra terrorists with the government, having Russia as the guarantor of their survival," Afandi said.

    READ MORE: Turkey Sends Huge Military Convoys to Idlib as Damascus' Op Looms — Reports

    He expressed hope that the situation in the province would be the same as it was in Daraa.

    "Russian military police would monitor Idlib and guarantee that the government does not attack the military groups who decided to surrender, while these military groups take the side of the fight against terrorism. The situation will be similar to that of Daraa," Afandi added.

    The Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria is under the responsibility of Turkey as a guarantor state, and Russia expects Ankara to facilitate the difficult process of separating moderate opposition groups from terrorists in the area, Russian special presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev announced last week in Geneva after the guarantors’ meeting.

    "Armed opposition groups in Idlib have only one condition – to prevent any Iranian presence in Idlib. This condition will be voiced by Erdogan to Putin," Afandi said in the wake of the meeting between Russian and Turkish presidents in Sochi.

    Last week, Lavrentyev said that terrorists' surrender would be the best option for solving the situation in the Idlib province, in order to prevent casualties among civilians.

    *Al-Qaeda and Nusra Front are terrorist groups, banned in Russia


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    Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda, Mahmoud Afandi, Idlib, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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