Syria's HTS call for 'unified army' in rebel-held Idlib
A jihadist group dominated by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate has called for a unified military body in Idlib - the country's the last major rebel bastion.
The leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, made the appeal in an interview published on Monday by a pro-jihadist media outlet.
"We should assembly under a military council or military entity, through which we can defend the liberated areas," Jolani said.
"The key step is that the factions' mission be military only - away from the management of the city," he added.
The move comes after HTS has sealed its grip on Idlib by reaching a ceasefire deal with what was left of a rival alliance following days of deadly fighting.
Dominated by Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate, HTS has proclaimed a "Salvation Government" to administer most of Idlib province and parts of neighbouring provinces of Aleppo and Hama.
A Russian-Turkish deal has since September prevented a major regime offensive on the rebel stronghold.