Rebel Free Syrian Army Spurns Russian Offer of Military Aid

Insists They Don't Need Russia's Backing

Talking up the ongoing Russian efforts to defeat ISIS in Syria and prepare the country for free elections, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced over the weekend that his country is willing to provide military aid to the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group which has been getting aid from the US for years. Lavrov also offered air support for their anti-ISIS operations.

The FSA, however, spurned the offer, saying they don’t trust Russia and also believe that they don’t need Russia’s backing to eventually win the ongoing civil war. They also added that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could have no role in future Syria.

Russia’s offer is somewhat surprising, with some FSA factions talking up terrorist attacks against Russians in the country, and the FSA fighters in northern Hama openly allied with al-Qaeda, facts which have made America’s own aid for the group problematic.

The offer, however, may reflect Russia efforts to get the US on board with a unified anti-ISIS coalition. That seems unlikely to work, however, as US policy in Syria seems to be built primarily around the idea of being anti-Russian.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.