The Saudi-backed Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group has rejected a US-Russia brokered ceasefire just hours before its implementation.
The truce deal, negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, is set to enter into force on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice).
The rejection was announced by a top-ranking member of the group via a video statement released on YouTube on Monday. The terrorist group claims that abiding by the truce would only “reinforce” the Syrian government and “increase the suffering” of civilians.
“The people cannot accept half-solutions,” said the group’s deputy leader Ali al-Omar in the video.
The group is a close affiliate of the Fateh al-Sham Front, formerly named the Nusra Front, and is mostly active in Syria
’s northern regions. In May, the US blocked Russia’s bid at the UN to add Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham to the list of terrorist groups because of their ties to al-Qaeda and Daesh.
Fateh al-Sham terrorists prepare their weapons at an armament school in an undisclosed location in Syria on August 6, 2016. (AFP)
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over the past few months, the Takfiri militants active in the Arab country have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas.
According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, more than 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.