Middle East

Foreign-backed militant using civilians as “human shields” in Idlib: Ja’afari

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari says foreign-backed Takfiri militants based in the northwestern Idlib Province are using civilians as “human shields,” stressing the government’s commitment to protecting its people from the scourge of terrorism.

Speaking Tuesday at a UN Security Council session on the situation in Syria, Ja’afari said that the al-Nusra Front terrorist group, which occupies most of Idlib, continues its acts of aggression against the region’s adjacent areas and the Syrian army positions.

He also emphasized that Syria reserves the right to safeguard its citizens from terror.

“Syria will liberate all its territory from terrorism and from any illegitimate foreign presence in the country,” Ja’afari said. “Syria will spare no effort to rescue its citizens from the dominance of terrorist organizations in Idlib, which take people as human shields and to put an end to the attacks of those terrorists on civilians in the neighboring towns and cities.”

Ja’afari also complained that some Security Council member states have, since the beginning of the Syria crisis, been trying to exploit the humanitarian issue in order to defame the Syrian government and tarnish its image.

In recent weeks, Syrian armed forces, backed by Russia’s air cover, have been conducting counter-terrorism operations in areas surrounding Idlib, the last significant militant stronghold in Syria.

Last week, the Syrian army warned civilians to leave Idlib amid preparations for a final military campaign to flush terrorists out of the region.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ja’afari slammed American occupation forces and their affiliated terrorists for seizing thousands of civilians at al-Hawl and Rukban refugee camps.

He further urged the Security Council to intervene in the US obstruction of the Russian-Syrian efforts meant to end the sufferings of the camp residents and prevent Turkey from changing the demographic nature of the regions its occupies.

“The presence of any foreign military force on the Syrian territory, without the Syrian government acceptance, is an aggression and occupation,” Ja’afari said.

Senior officials in the US, Britain and France seem to be prompting the terrorist groups to use chemical weapons against civilians in order to put the blame on the Syrian government, he added.

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