Turkish intelligence fails to persuade extremist groups to leave Syria's demilitarized zone: monitor

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-27 01:16:20|Editor: yan
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DAMASCUS, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish intelligence has so far failed to persuade the extremist groups to leave the demilitarized zone in northern Syria amid breaches, a war monitor reported on Friday.

With the presence of such radical groups, breaches continued to be reported in the demilitarized zone, which stretches from the northeastern countryside of Latakia province to the northern countryside of the province of Hama and western countryside of Latakia as well as areas in the countryside of Idlib province in northwestern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels' snipers fired at Syrian government forces in the mountains east of Latakia province overnight, killing two soldiers.

It added that the Syrian forces targeted the rebel positions in the northern and eastern countryside of Hama on Friday.

Such breaches have been preceded by another exchange of fire, mainly in Aleppo province where the rebels fired mortar shells on the residential areas on Wednesday and Thursday, wounding 10 civilians. The Syrian forces then responded to the attacks and fired on the rebels' positions in the western countryside of Aleppo.

Russia and Turkey reached the agreement to impose a demilitarized zone on Sept. 17 as the actual implementation of the deal started on Oct. 15.

According to the deal, the ultra-radical rebels should withdraw fighters and weapons from the identified zone.

Some of the weapons were taken out but the fighters of the radical groups such as those with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and its umbrella of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have rejected to leave the zone.

Those radical groups control 70 percent of the demilitarized zone, according to the Observatory.

The Syrian government has initially welcomed the deal but noted that it will not be permanent and that Idlib, which is the cornerstone in the deal as it is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, should eventually return to government control.

But as the situation dragged on with the partial implementation of the deal and the reported breaches, the Syrian government said its patience has limits.