Russia, Syrian Rebels Deny Plans to Meet

Both Sides Dismiss Media Reports of Planned Talks

Both the Russian Foreign Ministry and multiple Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders have dismissed a media report coming out of a Russian new agency claiming the two sides were planning to hold talks, with Russian officials saying that there may be some contacts with the group, but no specific plans for any high-level meetings.

FSA officials were more hostile to the suggestion, saying they have no contact at all with the Russians under any circumstances, and saying that the “delegation” putatively going to Abu Dhabi for the meeting doesn’t represent the group.

The FSA’s nature as a very spread out faction with no formal central leadership makes a lot of reports about them difficult to confirm or deny, as some factions are closely allied with the US, while others are directly backing al-Qaeda in their takeover of the Idlib Province.

Russia confirmed earlier this week that they have been in contact with unnamed rebel factions who are providing them targeting information about ISIS. This led to speculation that Russia was courting an FSA faction of their own, though it could easily be part of some other group, like the Kurdish YPG.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.