Posts Tagged ‘Rouhani’

Iran Simmers In Anger

December 8, 2018

It seems that Iran is angry. How else to interpret its most recent ballistic missile tests, which are surely intended more as a retaliation to the United States than as a provocation to the European Union?

Nevertheless, while countries such as France, the UK and Germany are struggling to counteract the withdrawal of the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the missile tests have forced them to stand with Washington in condemning Tehran’s actions.

France and the UK, permanent members of the UN Security Council, have asked for a meeting to review the tests and assess whether Iran has violated UN resolution 2231, which gave effect to the 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for the end of sanctions.

Commentary
By Camelia Entekhabifard
Arab News

Iran’s position — stated often by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and most recently by Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi — is that nothing in the nuclear deal or the UN resolution restricts Iran’s ballistic missile program.

Image result for Javad Zarif, with federica Mogniari, photos

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, far right, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in happier times

The rest of the world has a different interpretation of the resolution, which requests that Iran refrain from testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. In addition, the sale or transfer to Iran of any missile materials, equipment and technology is prohibited. However since such equipment and technology may also have non-military purposes, a country that wishes to sell them to Iran may file a request to the Security Council, which is required to examine the requests case by case.

The decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw from the agreement was the most significant step in undermining the fundamental principle of Resolution 2231, which ultimately undermined the legitimacy of the resolution and its full implementation.

Camelia Entekhabifard

With all these obligations and requirements, it should not be at all easy for Iran to acquire what it needs to build and test missiles. Indeed, on the UN Security Council website there is a special page devoted to the restrictions on the development, manufacture and testing of ballistic missile technology in Iran. There are no complaints on this page.

Nevertheless, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of violating the Security Council resolution that enacts the 2015 nuclear deal.

There is a further complication in that the principle violator of UN Resolution 2231 is not, in fact, Iran — it is the United States. The resolution promotes the achievement of a multilateral agreement to an international instrument whose implementation is mandated by the Security Council. That means not only the signatories, but all the countries of the world, should act on its content.

For this reason, the decision of President Donald Trump to withdraw from the agreement was the most significant step in undermining the fundamental principle of Resolution 2231, which ultimately undermined the legitimacy of the resolution and its full implementation.

At this critical time, the Western powers must surely understand that if they leave the agreement because of Iran’s violations of Resolution 2231, clearly Iran will act more aggressively to take revenge for the humiliation suffered as a result of the US withdrawal, and then the EU’s lack of support.

The best thing everyone can do is to hold back and watch the US for the next action.

  • Camelia Entekhabifard is an Iranian-American journalist, political commentator and author of Camelia: Save Yourself By Telling the Truth (Seven Stories Press, 2008). Twitter: @CameliaFard
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view
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Iran’s Rouhani says sanctions may lead to a “deluge” of drugs, refugees, terrorism for U.S., the West

December 8, 2018
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani predicted a “deluge” of drugs, refugees and attacks on the West if U.S. sanctions weaken Iran’s ability to contain them.

Image result for rouhani, pictures

“I warn those who impose sanctions that if Iran’s ability to fight drugs and terrorism are affected … you will not be safe from a deluge of drugs, asylum seekers, bombs and terrorism,” Rouhani said in a speech carried live on state television.

Separately, Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying that the United States is selling more arms into the Middle East than the region needs, making it a “tinderbox”.

Image result for Hassan Rouhani , Shahroud, Iran, December 4, 2018, photos

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a public speech during a trip to the northern Iranian city of Shahroud, Iran, December 4, 2018. Official President website/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May and reimposed sanctions on Iran’s vital oil industry last month.

Drug trafficking is a serious challenge for Iran as it borders Afghanistan – the world’s largest opium producer – and Pakistan, a major transit country for drugs.

In 2012, Iran accounted for two thirds of the world’s opium seizures and one fourth of the world’s heroin and morphine seizures, a U.N. report published in 2014 showed.

“Economic terrorism means creating horror in a country and create fear in other countries that intend to invest (there). America’s withdrawal from the (nuclear accord) is undoubtedly a clear example of economic terrorism,” Rouhani told a meeting of heads of parliaments of China, Russia, and four other countries.

Zarif warned about the dangers of large U.S. arms sales in the Middle East, where Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia is a major buyer of Western weapons.

“The Americans have turned the region into a tinderbox. The level of arms sales by the Americans is unbelievable and much beyond regional needs and this points to the very dangerous policies followed by the Americans,” IRNA reported Zarif as saying.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Alexander Smith

Reuters

Iran’s Rouhani: US sanctions are ‘economic terrorism’

December 8, 2018

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said US sanctions were “economic terrorism”, as he sought to foster a united front from visiting regional officials on Saturday.

“America’s unjust and illegal sanctions against the honourable nation of Iran have targeted our nation in a clear instance of terrorism,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani (file photo)

Hassan Rouhani

He was speaking at a conference on terrorism and regional cooperation attended by parliament speakers from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey.

“Economic terrorism is designed to create panic in the economy of a country and fear in other countries in order to prevent investment in the target country,” Rouhani said.

“We are facing an all-out assault which is not only threatening our independence and identity but also is bent on breaking our longstanding ties.”

AFP

Iran’s Rouhani calls Israel a ‘cancerous tumor’ established by West — Wants Saudi Arabia to Join Iran, All Muslims Against the U.S.

November 24, 2018

At Islamic Unity Conference, president, seen as a relative moderate who does not routinely employ such rhetoric, says Israel a ‘fake regime’

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends an annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

In this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends an annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called Israel a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East.

Iran’s leaders frequently condemn Israel and predict its demise, but Rouhani, a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric.

Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday, Rouhani said “one of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region.” He went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries.

Iran supports terror groups like Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas that are pledged to Israel’s destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long identified Iran as Israel’s greatest threat, pointing to its nuclear program, calls for Israel’s destruction and support of anti-Israel terrorist groups.

The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, routinely calls Israel a “cancer” of the region that must be removed.

Rouhani on Saturday said the United States cultivates close ties with “regional Muslim nations” to protect Israel, an apparent reference to Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s Sunni Arab allies. He said bowing to American pressure amounts to “treason.”

He added, however, that Iran was prepared to defend Saudi Arabia from “terrorism and superpowers.”

“We do consider you as a brother,” he said. “We do consider the people of Mecca and Medina our brothers,” he added, referring to Islam’s two holiest cities, in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran nearly three years ago after Iranian protesters stormed its diplomatic posts in Iran in response to the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. The two countries support opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

TOI staff contributed to this report.

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Iran’s Rouhani calls for all Muslims to unite against United States

November 24, 2018

“Submitting to the West headed by America would be treason against our religion.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Muslims worldwide on Saturday to unite against the United States, instead of “rolling out red carpets for criminals”.

Washington in May reimposed sanctions on Tehran, after President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran under which they had been lifted.

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“Submitting to the West headed by America would be treason against our religion … and against the future generations of this region,” Rouhani told an international conference on Islamic unity in Tehran, in a speech broadcast live on state television.

“We have a choice to either roll out red carpets for criminals, or to forcefully stand against injustice and remain faithful to our Prophet, our Koran and our Islam,” Rouhani said, in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states which have close ties to Washington.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are regional rivals and have supported opposing sides in conflicts in Syria and Yemen and different political factions in Iraq and Lebanon.

“We are ready to defend the interests of the Saudi people against terrorism, aggression and the superpowers… and we don’t ask for $450 billion to do it,” Rouhani said, referring to Saudi Arabia’s contracts with the United States.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Reuters

Iranian marchers chant ‘Death to America’ on eve of U.S. oil sanctions

November 4, 2018

Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday to mark both the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the imminent reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s key oil sector.

Thousands of students in the government-organized rally in the capital Tehran, broadcast live by state television, burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the leafy downtown compound that once housed the U.S. mission.

Hardline students stormed the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979 soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies, on opposite sides of Middle East conflict, ever since.

Iranian state media said millions turned out for rallies in most cities and towns around the country, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hardline top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The turnout figure could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.

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Iranian people burn the US flag as they mark the anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy, in Tehran, Iran, November 4, 2018. Reuters

Rallies replete with “Death to America” chants are staged on the embassy takeover anniversary every year. But U.S.-Iranian rancor is especially strong this time round following Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

The deal brought about the lifting of most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under U.N. surveillance.

Trump said the deal, approved by predecessor Barack Obama, was weak and flawed in Iran’s favor. The other signatories – U.S. allies Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China – remain committed to the accord.

“DONALD SALMAN”

Among events held on the embassy anniversary was a cartoon exhibit called “Donald Salman” – a reference to the close ties between the U.S. president and King Salman, ruler of Iran’s arch-rival for regional predominance, Saudi Arabia.

“My cartoons are focused on three themes: the Zionist regime (Israel), Al Salman (Saudi royal family) and America’s government,” artist Masoud Shojaei Tabatabai told state television in Tehran.

“It’s black humor but the audience can also be brought to reflect on the contradictions in the behavior of Trump and Al Saud,” he said, standing in front of a cartoon showing an old wheelchair-bound figure dressed like a comic-book superhero.

The restoration of U.S. sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s oil sales and banking sectors is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs outright as well as support for proxy forces in conflicts across the Middle East.

The top commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said at the Tehran rally that Iran would resist and defeat a U.S. “psychological war” and the return of U.S. sanctions, meant to cripple the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and financial institutions.

“America has launched an economic and psychological war as a last resort … But America’s plots and its plans for sanctions will be defeated through continued resistance,” said Jafari.

In a speech on Saturday, Khamenei said Trump’s policies faced opposition around the world. “America’s goal has been to re-establish the domination it had (before 1979) but it has failed. America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years,” he said.

Additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Reuters

Iranian marchers chant ‘Death to America’ on eve of U.S. oil sanctions

November 4, 2018

Iranians chanting “Death to America” rallied on Sunday to mark both the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the imminent reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s key oil sector.

Thousands of students in the government-organized rally in the capital Tehran, broadcast live by state television, burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the leafy downtown compound that once housed the U.S. mission.

Hardline students stormed the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979 soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies, on opposite sides of Middle East conflict, ever since.

Image result for Burning American flag, Iran, photos

FILE photo: Iranians burn a US flag outside the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran during a demonstration marking the anniversary of its storming by student protesters that triggered a hostage crisis in 1979, November 4, 2015. (Photo by AFP Photo / Atta Kenare)

Iranian state media said millions turned out for rallies in most cities and towns around the country, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hardline top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The turnout figure could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.

Rallies replete with “Death to America” chants are staged on the embassy takeover anniversary every year. But U.S.-Iranian rancor is especially strong this time round following Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the United States from world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

The deal brought about the lifting of most international financial and economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its disputed nuclear activity under U.N. surveillance.

The restoration of U.S. sanctions on Monday targeting Iran’s oil sales and banking sectors is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs outright as well as support for proxy forces in conflicts across the Middle East.

The biggest anti-American gathering in Iran in years displayed domestic opposition to President Hassan Rouhani's policy of detente with the West

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Iranian demonstrators burn US and Israeli flags during a demonstration marking the 34th anniversary of US Embassy takeover in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran, November 2013. Photo: EPA/ABEDIN TAHRKENAREH

The top commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said at the Tehran rally that Iran would resist and defeat a U.S. “psychological war” and the return of U.S. sanctions, meant to cripple the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and financial institutions.

“America has launched an economic and psychological war as a last resort … But America’s plots and its plans for sanctions will be defeated through continued resistance,” said Jafari.

In a speech on Saturday, Khamenei said Trump’s policies faced opposition around the world. “America’s goal has been to re-establish the domination it had (before 1979) but it has failed. America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years,” he said.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi with additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Reuters

Paris bomb plot claims hurt Tehran’s hope for EU help against US sanctions

October 5, 2018

Accusations in France that Iran was behind a foiled bomb plot near Paris on June 30 seem to have put paid to any hopes President Hassan Rouhani had to use Europe to beat crippling US sanctions.

The blow to Tehran comes as European governments were working on a mechanism that would have allowed Iran to continue to reap the economic benefits of compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the US and a number of European nations, which was jettisoned by American President Donald Trump in May.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25, 2018. (AFP / Ludovic Marin)

“Such allegations, whether true or not, at this moment in time will serve only to harm both Rouhani’s government and the Iranian nation,” Saeed Leylaz, a lecturer at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University, told Agence France Presse.

“I am certain this (allegation) is a source of worry for the government, because it happened while the Islamic Republic needs every single relationship and link with the West, minus the United States,” said Leylaz.

Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said that while the threat of Daesh terrorism has haunted Europe for the past few years, “the very real threat of what very much looks to be a modern-day Iranian-directed terror network will prove to be discomfiting for European Union leaders and for the future security of the European continent.”

He said the capture of Iranian diplomats implicated in the failed terror attack in Paris, along with the freezing of the assets of pro-Hezbollah Zahra Center in France, might be only the tip of the iceberg.

“Iran may have made a major miscalculation in allegedly ordering these attacks on European soil. You can certainly expect a major backlash at a time when Tehran can least afford it, given Iran’s attempts to gain European support to counter the re-imposition of crippling sanctions by the Trump administration,” added Shahbandar.

Separately, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said the US faced threats from Iran, which he called “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.”

He said: “Radical Islamist terrorist groups represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States’ interests abroad.”

Rouhani, who was re-elected to a second four-year term last year on the promise of greater economic dividends from his government’s opening to Washington, was already reeling from the economic fallout of Trump’s abandonment of the nuclear deal.

A precipitous slide in the value of the rial against the dollar hit the purchasing power of ordinary Iranians, while an anticipated boost to Western investment failed to materialize, hitting plans to renew Iran’s antiquated infrastructure.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, gestures to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after a meeting

Rouhani had counted on EU governments to work with the other parties to the deal — China and Russia — to mitigate the impact of the US policy U-turn but the French allegation has now put those hopes in jeopardy.

The allegations were swiftly seized on by the Trump administration as vindication of its hard line.

“France taking strong action against failed Iranian terrorist plot in Paris — Tehran needs to know this outrageous behavior will not be tolerated,” the White House’s National Security Council tweeted.

Rouhani’s government sees the hand of the Trump administration behind the allegations, convinced Washington is determined to undermine European resistance to the US abandonment of the JCPOA, the official acronym for the nuclear deal.

“Some centers of power do not approve of Iran’s good relations with Europe — that it is staying in the JCPOA and that its economic ties with the EU continue,” Ghasemi said.

Arab News

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1382761/world

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UN court ruling on US sanctions shows Tehran is ‘right’: Iran

October 3, 2018

Tehran welcomed on Wednesday a ruling by the UN’s top court ordering Washington to suspend sanctions on humanitarian goods, as a “clear sign” that “Iran is in the right”.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice “once again shows that the US government… is day by day becoming more isolated,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani faced off at the UN in September. Tehran has hailed a ruling by the UN’s top court ordering Washington to suspend sanctions on humanitarian goods, as a “clear sign” it is “in the right”

It said the court had found that the crippling sanctions reimposed by Washington after it abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran were illegal.

“World public opinion and all independent countries will, with peace of mind, strive… to keep and carry out the JCPOA,” it added, using the official acronym for the agreement.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the court ruling “another failure for sanctions-addicted US government and victory for rule of law”.

“Imperative for int’l community to collectively counter malign US unilateralism,” he added in a tweet.

AFP

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Syria rebels deny withdrawing arms from north under deal

September 30, 2018

Syrian rebels denied on Sunday they had pulled any heavy arms from a major opposition bastion in the north, as the deadline to implement a demilitarization deal there draws closer.

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Regime ally Moscow and rebel backer Ankara agreed earlier this month to create a buffer zone around the opposition stronghold of Idlib that would be free of both militants and heavy arms.

A Russian soldier stands guard at the Abu Duhur crossing on the eastern edge of Idlib province on September 25, 2018. (AFP)

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The deal has so far averted a massive assault on the region by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, but its implementation in areas packed with rival militants and rebels is expected to be complex.

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The National Liberation Front, a pro-Turkey rebel alliance, welcomed the agreement but said Sunday it had not yet moved any heavy arms from the planned zone.

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“There have been no withdrawals of heavy weapons from any area or any front. This report is denied, completely denied,” NLF spokesman Naji Mustafa told AFP.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor had earlier said one faction of the NLF began withdrawing its heavy weapons under the Turkish-Russian agreement.

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It said Faylaq Al-Rahman, whose fighters number between 8,500 and 10,000, were leaving three towns in the planned buffer zone on Sunday “with heavy weapons, including tanks and cannons.”

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The Britain-based monitor uses a vast network of sources including fighters, officials and medical staff.

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A spokesman for Faylaq Al-Rahman also told AFP on Sunday it had not moved any forces or arms.

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“There have been no changes in the location of weapons or redistribution of fighters, even as we remain committed to the agreement reached in (the Russian resort of) Sochi,” said Sayf Al-Raad.

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“We are still coordinating with the Turkish guarantor on following the agreement and ways to implement it,” he added.

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On September 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarised zone about 15 to 20 kilometers wide ringing around Idlib.

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All factions in the planned buffer must hand over their heavy weapons by October 10, and radical groups must withdraw by October 15, according to the agreement.

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The deal was welcomed by world powers, aid organizations, and the United Nations, which all hoped it would help avoid a bloody military assault on the area.

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But observers have pointed out its implementation would be tricky for Ankara.

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Most of the territory where the zone would be established is controlled by either hard-line militants or by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, which is led by former members of Al-Qaeda’s Syria branch and widely considered the most powerful force in Idlib.

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The rest is held by the NLF and other rebels.

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HTS has yet to announce its position on the agreement, and there have been no signs it was moving out either fighters or heavy weapons.

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But Al-Qaeda loyalists Hurras Al-Deen, which have a presence in the zone, rejected the deal last week.

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And on Saturday, formerly US-backed rebel group Jaish Al-Izza followed suit.

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“We are against this deal, which eats into liberated (rebel-held) areas and bails out Bashar Assad,” its head Jamil Al-Saleh told AFP.

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Jaish Al-Izza, which is not part of the NLF, clashed with regime forces throughout the night on Saturday and into Sunday in the province of Hama, bordering Idlib.

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Separate clashes were also taking place in the coastal province of Latakia between militants and government fighters, the Observatory said on Sunday.

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Idlib and adjacent rebel territory are home to some three million people, about half of them displaced from other parts of Syria.

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Seven years of brutal war have forced more than half of Syria’s people out of their homes, sending more than five million into neighboring countries to seek refuge and leaving another six million internally displaced.

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After losing swathes of territory to rebel fighters, Assad appears to have regained the upper hand and now controls around two-thirds of the country.

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The areas still outside his control are Idlib in the northwest, and a northeastern chunk held by Kurdish authorities where US and other Western troops are present.

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On Saturday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Damascus would keep “fighting this sacred battle until we purge all Syrian territories” of both radical groups and “any illegal foreign presence.”

AFP