Mohammed Alloush, senior member of the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), on Feb.21, confirmed that ISIS has yielded around 25 villages, located in the rural areas of Aleppo, to the Assad regime.
ISIS withdrawing from the villages came as a result to the Saudi-Turkish warnings on sending ground troops into Syria. Alloush told Asharq Al-Awsat that there is news on ISIS willing to give up Raqqah city, which is ISIS’s Syrian headquarters, to the regime.
Alloush also added that ISIS giving up on the villages and handing them over to the Assad administration suggests the presence of security cooperation between the two.
On the other hand, the HNC will be holding a meeting in Riyadh today to deliberate on possible ways to agree on ceasefire and the beginning of a truce in Syria. The meeting came after U.S. Secretary John Kerry’s announcement at a press conference, held in Amman with his Jordanian peer Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh, on arriving at a temporary concession with the Russian FM Segery Lavrov for conditions on ending violence in Syria.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Moscow, confirmed that the discussions held between FM Lavrov and U.S. Secretary Kerry focused on conditions for ceasefire, excluding operations against organizations listed as terrorist groups by the UN Security Council.
The Syrian Opposition considers the recent developments on the political and international stances’ as indicators of the possibility of reaching ceasefire in Syria. With humanitarian operations taking course of action, the Syrian Opposition began to sense a response on the subject of classifying terrorist organizations.
The question of what defines a terrorist organization was controversial among countries, especially Russia and the United States. The HNC regards all provided developments and agreements on defining a terrorist organization to set a new basis for the re-launch of the 3rd Geneva peace talks and the participation of the HNC.