Two weeks after the ceasefire actually ended in Syria, the Obama Administration has announced it is withdrawing from talks related to the process, and are eager to make sure everyone knows they hold Russia wholly responsible for the failure of the effort.
The ceasefire was meant to provide a 7-day pause to separate US-backed rebels from the Nusra Front. It lasted seven days, though no separation ever occurred, and Syria’s government withdrew complaining Nusra and its allies never stopped attacking them during the period.
This separation, which again never happened, was supposed to lead to joint US-Russian attacks on Nusra. Instead, Russia and Syria have been attacking Nusra without the US, which has not only refused to join them, but has condemned the attacks.
Indeed, the US threatened all last week to withdraw from the talks to punish Russia for the airstrikes on Nusra, and say their patience with Russia “has run out” today. The Russian government expressed regret over the end of the talks, but insisted that the ceasefire efforts are untenable at the moment, with so many rebel factions backing Nusra so heavily.
The Nusra Front was for years an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and while they “separated” this summer, they retain extremely close ties. The US warned, during the ceasefire, that moderate rebels would face major consequences if they didn’t distance themselves from Nusra, and while literally no one did so, the US seems to have done nothing about it.
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