Syria's HTS call for 'unified army' in rebel-held Idlib

Tahrir al-Sham's Jolani call for 'unified army' in Syrian opposition province
1 min read
14 January, 2019
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.
HTS sealed its grip on Idlib by reaching a ceasefire deal with its rivals [Twitter]

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.