The leader of the Sham Liberation Front (Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, Abu Muhammad Al Julani, said on Saturday that his faction wouldn’t withdraw from the demilitarized zone in northwestern Syria, two days after a truce announced by Damascus.
Al Julani’s remarks came during a meeting organized by Al Sham Liberation Organization with journalists in the Idlib region.
Journalists were not allowed to shoot pictures.
After months of military escalation, a cease-fire agreement began in the Idlib area on Friday, which Damascus announced was “approved” and provided for the continued withdrawal of jihadi groups from the demilitarized zone, according to a Russian-Turkish agreement since September.
“Unless the Syrian army takes it militarily and with force it’ll not get it peacefully through negotiations and politics”, Al Julani said.
“We’ll never withdraw from the region”.
“We’ll not sit at the request of friends or enemies”, he stressed, stressing his faction’s refusal to enter Russian control forces into the buffer zone as stipulated in the agreement.
The Organization warned in a statement Friday that any shelling of areas of control would lead to non-compliance with the cease-fire.
The agreement provides for the establishment of a demilitarized zone at a depth of 15 to 20 kilometers separating the areas controlled by the Syrian army and armed militias.
It also requires the withdrawal of the opposition factions heavy and medium weapons and the withdrawal of jihadist groups from the area concerned.