Syrian Rebels: Ceasefire Doomed Without al-Qaeda’s Inclusion

Insist Nusra Present a Lot of Places, Would Provide Pretext for Strikes

The US and Russia confirmed earlier today that they have agreed to a ceasefire in the Syrian Civil War, tentatively to begin on Saturday. The Syrian rebels are already spurning the idea, insisting the deal can’t possibly work as currently constructed.

As expected, the deal excludes both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, and the rebels see the exclusion of Nusra as a big problem, on the grounds that they’re “mixed” in with all the other rebels in a lot of territories, and it’s not really possible even for the rebels to tell what territory is rebel-held and what territory is Nusra-held.

Which means that continued attacks on al-Qaeda will also mean continued attacks on a good chunk of the rebellion, something they’re presenting as a “pretext” Syrian forces will use to attack their territory, though even as they presented it, would rightly be targeting al-Qaeda under the terms of the ceasefire.

A lot of rebel factions have objected repeatedly to the inclusion of al-Qaeda in the “bad rebels” category, precisely because they’ve been working hand in hand with them throughout the civil war, and see the weakening of al-Qaeda as a loss to their side.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.