Militants from several groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) are planning an offensive on positions of Syrian government troops, concentrating forces simultaneously on several directions, the chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, Major General Alexei Tsygankov, told reporters on Wednesday, TASS reports.
"According to our sources, the leaders of Hayyat Tahrir Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat Tahrir Suriya (formed as merger of Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement and Ahrar al-Sham), Suqour al-Sham and Falak al-Sham agreed to set up joint operational headquarters to conduct an attack on positions of government forces," the general said.
Large groups have concentrated on several directions - mountains of northern Latakia, al-Ghab valley on the border of Hama and Idlib provinces and areas west of Aleppo," he said.
"Reinforcements are being deployed there as well as highly-skilled militants, armored vehicles are moved in," the general said. He also specified that militants live in tent camps and settlements near the borders of the Idlib de-escalation zone, ousting local people from their houses”.
The general said militants are conducting surveillance on the line of contact with government troops. In mountainous areas of Latakia and near Aleppo “they have carried out reconnaissance by fire and tried to make passages through mine fields," he said.
He said militants are making embankments along the roads to cover the movement of armored vehicles and mechanized troops during an offensive.
"The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone keeps deteriorating. Despite the ceasefire, violations are reported from illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zones," he said. Shooting has been reported in three settlements of Latakia and two neighborhoods of Aleppo in the past 24 hours.