BEIRUT Truces in between the government and opposition fighters in Syria only advantage Damascus, the leader of one of the largest insurgent groups in the conflict stated in comments broadcast on Saturday.
The comments by Abu Mohamad al-Golani, head of al Qaeda’s Syria wing Nusra Front, came after the implementation of a truce deal in Waer, the last insurgent-held location of Homs city, among the regional government and insurgents.
“Truces are the first step to surrender and take place only in the interests of the regime,” he stated in comments to reporters broadcast on the opposition-affiliated Orient News Tv channel.
It was not quickly clear when the recording took location. Golani’s face was digitally obscured.
Beneath the Waer deal, fighters who rejected the terms and some civilians have been permitted leave and humanitarian aid was allowed in. Nusra Front fighters were among these who rejected the ceasefire and left.
A senior United Nations official told Reuters this week the Waer ceasefire was a great model to construct on and could aid market a nationwide truce in the practically 5-year conflict that has killed 250,000 men and women.
U.N. officials were present when fighters began to leave Waer final week.
Golani also criticized a Saudi-hosted Syrian opposition conference held last week as “a conspiracy” and stated fighters who had attended had not followed the orders of their leaders.
Nusra Front, a Sunni Muslim hardline group, was not invited, and Golani mentioned would not have wanted to attend anyway.
“(The conference) was not in the interests of the men and women of Syria, which is unacceptable,” he said. He also added that these who attended did not have the capacity to implement any outcomes on the ground.
Golani gave a rare two-portion interview to the Qatari-financed Al Jazeera channel earlier this year in what appeared to be an attempt by his group to cast itself to an Arab audience as a Syrian national movement.
“We took the path of jihad and we have to complete the process, and we are speaking about liberating much more than 80 % of Syrian territory,” he stated on Orient News.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall in Beirut and Ali Abdelatti in Cairo Editing by Ros Russell)