Turkey-Backed Rebels Hopeful Syrian Jihadists Will Leave Idlib Buffer Zone

One such faction has already ruled out withdrawing

In comments on Thursday, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels issued a statement claiming that they have growing confidence that various jihadist rebel factions will agree to comply with the Turkey-Russia deal in Syria’s Idlib Province.

This is surprising, as one of the jihadist groups, Huras al-Din, issued a statement on Sunday on the matter ruling out complying with the deal, which was expected to cost them most of their territory. The only other major jihadist faction is al-Qaeda, and they still haven’t said what their intentions are.

The “confident” rebels haven’t even pledged to follow the deal, with their last official statement saying they would do so only so that they did not have to cede any territory. Their growing comfort may suggest that Turkey has ensured that it doesn’t cost territory to pro-Turkey fighters.

With Russia and Turkey haven’t committed to forcing rebels out of this buffer zone, it’s almost certain that there will be some fighting against whomever is losing ground, and that’s probably going to be one of the jihadist groups that neither nation would have a problem fighting.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.