MOSCOW – In a statement delivered on Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they have observed large numbers of “armed groups of various Islamic organizations” amassing near the de-escalation areas of Idlib. “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Committee) and the Guardians of Religion Organization continue to use the ideological principles and terrorist methods of al-Qaeda,” said the Foreign Ministry.
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Committee, HTS) and the Guardians of Religion Organization refused to recognize the recent Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreements in Idlib.
The jihadists organizations in Idlib include many Islamic State members, including those who were evacuated from other regions in Syria through so-called “safe corridors”, the Russian Foreign Ministry Office added.
The Foreign Ministry also confirmed that the elements of the terrorist groups benefited from the truce and re-armed themselves, due to external support, and are now preparing to launch counter-attack operations.
The Foreign Ministry concluded, “No matter what nationality, the people who followed the path of violence and terrorism carry, it is necessary to be held accountable for the crimes they committed. There are only two possible options, either eliminating the terrorists, or holding them accountable in accordance with the law.”