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Terrorists in Syria’s Idlib are beefing up abilities for an offensive, warns diplomat

Maria Zakharova also noted a growing number of ceasefire violations

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Terrorists of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (terror group, outlawed in Russia) pose a threat to Syria’s stability by conducting events for building up their offensive potential, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.

"A threat to security and stability in Syria is coming from terrorists of the Nusra-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance, which controls almost the entire Idlib de-escalation zone. Field commanders are carrying out events on reshaping allied groups with the goals of increasing their offensive capabilities in the directions of Aleppo, Hama and mountainous Latakia," the diplomat stressed. "The militants plan to expand the sphere of their influence and establish full control of Idlib."

Zakharova also noted a growing number of ceasefire violations. "Only over the past four days nearly 40 such cases have been recorded, when people died or were wounded," she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention to the deplorable situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone in his recent report on the humanitarian situation in Syria. Besides concerns over the growing activity of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the report details atrocities of terrorists against civilians, including suppressing ethnic and religious minorities, illegal detentions of civilians and cases when people have gone missing, she noted.