Pentagon says it will not cooperate with Russia on Idlib, despite recognizing it as Al Qaeda stronghold
The US is ready to present its own plan to effectively end terrorism in Syria and will not cooperate with Russia on the matter, the Pentagon said in a statement.
According to General Joseph Dunford, he has not spoken to his Russian colleague, General Valery Gerasimov, since the crisis in Idlib began and that he does not intend to communicate with him yet.
The Pentagon spokesman also reported that an estimated 20-30,000 terrorists have entered Idlib to “hide among hundreds of thousands” who have fled violence in other areas of Syria.
Idlib province is the last remaining stronghold of the jihadist insurgency in the country. Syrian President Bashar Assad had already emphasized that the province’s liberation was among the priorities for Syrian military operations.
This May 2017 video shows the White Helmets receiving an award for their work from Al Qaeda.
— Walid (@walid970721) May 14, 2017
Meanwhile, on Friday in Idlib a meeting took place between leaders of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra, with the participation of the White Helmets, said the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Major General Igor Konashenkov.
According to the Major General, the meeting between terrorist leaders and the White Helmets was aimed at finalizing “incidents” staged with the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.
“According to irrefutable information held by the Russian Ministry of Defense on 7 September in Idlib city, a meeting was held at a command post near the al-Vahda school, between the group leaders of al-Nusra, the Turkistan Islamic Party, with the participation of local coordinators of Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets),” he said.
In addition, according to the Major General, all preparations for the chemical weapons provocations in Idlib should be finalized by early Saturday night. The signal to start the operation will be a special order from the “foreign friends of the Syrian Revolution”.
Konashenkov added that the Russian Ministry of Defense will scrupulously monitor the situation in Syria and the actions of the armed forces groupings of various countries in the Middle East.