Russia: US-Allied Syrian Rebels Mingling With al-Qaeda, Complicate Airstrikes

Russia: US-Allied Syrian Rebels Mingling With al-Qaeda, Complicate Airstrikes | Pentagon slams Russia for attacking pro-US rebels

Faced with yet another round of angry US condemnations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today said that the US-backed “moderate” rebels in Syria are continuing to mingle closely with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, noting this is “complicating” their air campaign.

Under the terms of the most recent ceasefire in Syria, everyone is allowed to target ISIS and Nusra Front forces, and Russia has been trying to do both, intermittently. The US, however, has pressed them heavily to leave al-Qaeda alone, complaining that those strikes are hitting US allies too often.

Russia stopped for awhile, but once again hit a group of rebels who the US says are “moderates” fighting against ISIS, saying that the Russians’ conduct is “problematic” in Syria. The rebels, however, are in the area along the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border, which has significant Nusra presence.

Throughout the Syrian Civil War, Nusra has been in bed with most of the rest of the rebellion, and while the US occasionally attacks them too, and similarly gets criticized by the other rebels, Russia has done so more often, trying to help the Syrian government recover territory from Nusra, and by extension from “the rebels.”

Fighting al-Qaeda is getting more and more controversial in Syria, but Russian officials are so far just shrugging off the US criticism.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Tom Mauel

    How can Obama deny Trumps’ charge he is helping Islamic militants.

    • Don

      You’re really a sad case Tom, but you have company here on this site. How can anybody accept this kind of rage and irrational hate as anything but racism? If there’s another explanation for this kind of behaviour then I would like to know what it could be. I really doubt that politics can explain it, or at least it can’t if it’s to be taken seriously. I think it may be explained if one considers that it might be coming from a teenager trying to fit into an adult conversation.

      America has some real problems if this can be used as an example in any numbers.

  • richard young

    Remember the Bush-Obama declarations that anyone who harbors or cooperates with Al Qaeda is fair game for attacks by the US anywhere in the world? Syria and Russia are simply carrying out Bush-Obama policy in refusing to allow Al Qaeda to escape attacks by mingling with people who harbor or cooperate with Al Qaeda. Under Bush-Obama policy and practice, the killing or wounding of Al Qaeda collaborators is justifiable — or at worst unavoidable “collateral damage.”

  • jeff_davis

    Jason, I appreciate your work here at Antiwar.com, but I must voice an objection in this case. The conflict in Syria cannot be properly characterized as a civil war. It is a regime-change war of aggression fomented by foreign enemies of the Assad government, employing proxy, non-Syrian mercenary forces, supplied and paid for by those foreign governments behind the war.

  • Don

    Purposely of course, in order to be able to scream bloody murder when a US soldier gets in the way and gets offed. And don’t think for a moment that won’t get the American people firmly onside with president Clinton and hating Russia again like the good old days.
    Simply stated, the US is going to renew it’s repuation as the biggest threat to world peace.
    luv from Canada.

  • lordbaldric

    The US gov is trying to play the Russians for fools, and sadly it’s somewhat working. All these “cease fires” are doing is letting Nusra Front & friends resupply and reorganize.