An alliance of Syrian opposition groups has denied that any opposition faction has withdrawn from the southern Aleppo countryside as part of a Russian-Turkish deal to establish a demilitarized zone in the northwestern province of Idlib.
"We categorically deny that Faylaq al-Sham has withdrawn from some of its positions in the southern and western Aleppo countryside," a military commander with the National Front for Liberation said yesterday.
The commander added that all fighters from Faylaq al-Sham or the other factions are still stationed at their posts.
Earlier in the day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Faylaq al-Sham had begun pulling out its fighters and heavy weapons from the southern Aleppo countryside, adjacent to Idlib, which is part of the demilitarized zone.
It quoted sources as saying that the withdrawal was requested by the Turkish side. Faylaq al-Sham has some 8,500 to 10,000 fighters who are part of the Turkish-backed alliance, the National Front for Liberation, the monitor had said. "It is the second most powerful group in northern Syria in terms of military equipment and the third largest in terms of manpower," an official from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP).