News   /   Syria

Damascus government will not allow Idlib to turn into terrorist stronghold: Envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari (file photo)

Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari says the incumbent Damascus government will not allow foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists to turn the embattled northwestern province of Idlib into a new haven for themselves.

“Idlib is part of Syria, and it is natural for the Syrian government to fight terrorism in order to rid its nation from the scourge and establish full sovereignty over its soil,” Ja’afari said at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York City on Friday.

Under a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on September 17, all militants in a demilitarized zone, which surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, and Takfiri groups had to withdraw by October 15.

The National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant alliance in the Idlib region, but the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits, largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

The HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib province, has yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 members of different factions of armed groups, which Syria, Russia and Turkey consider terrorists, are active in the volatile province, which is home to around three million inhabitants.

Russia believes that a buffer zone would help stop attacks from Idlib-based militants on Syrian army positions and Russia's military bases in the flashpoint region.

‘US-led coalition doing anything in Syria but not terror fight’

Ja'afari added that the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group “is targeting anything in Syria but not terror groups.”

“We are surprised that the UN Special Envoy to Syria (Staffan de Mistura) has ignored the crimes of this coalition against Syrian people. The illegal US-led international coalition continues to perpetrate crimes in Syria, the last of which was in the villages of al-Sousa and al-Bubadran, where 62 civilians lost their lives,” the Syrian UN ambassador pointed out.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that as many as 3,222 civilians had been killed ever since the so-called US-led anti-Daesh coalition launched its aerial bombardment campaign in Syria more than four years ago.

There were 768 people under the age of 18 among the fatalities in addition to 562 female victims.

The US-led air raids also resulted in the injury of hundreds of civilians, some of whom suffered permanent disabilities and had to have their limbs amputated.

The Britain-based monitoring group noted that the civilians were killed by US-led warplanes in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah, northeastern province of Hasakah, northwestern Aleppo and Idlib provinces as well as Dayr al-Zawr province in the country's east.

‘Syrian government fairly keen to end ongoing crisis’

“Syria believes in the role of the United Nations, which is based on the force of law and not on arrogance. It respects the sovereignty of world states and the principle of non-interference in their domestic affairs,” Ja’afari added.

“The Syrian government is extremely eager to end the ongoing crisis. We are the first and last victim of this terrorist campaign, which is aimed at killing Syrian people and destroying Syria’s infrastructure,” he pointed out.

Jaafari stressed that the formation of a Syrian Constitutional Committee, which would represents people from all strata of the society and strive to fulfill public ambitions, is a way out of the lingering Syrian conflict.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku