Assad: US Protecting Nusra Front as Proxy in Syria War

Reiterates Offer of Amnesty to Allow Rebels to Leave Aleppo

In an interview with Denmark’s TV 2, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted that the effort to regain total control of Aleppo, and indeed of all Syrian territory, would continue, but insisted that while military operations are ongoing, he would prefer local deals and amnesty allowing rebels to leave the contested areas as a way to avoid fighting.

At the same time, he didn’t appear to hold out much hope for that happening in Aleppo, insisting that the main rebel force there, long-time al-Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front, was being used by the United States as a proxy, because they are the only really effective card the US has to play in the war.

Assad insisted the main reason the ceasefire failed was not the fighting or even the bungled US airstrike against a military base in Deir Ezzor, but rather the general lack of will among US officials to come to the table on any deal that would allow fighting against Nusra.

That indeed does appear to have been a factor, with the ceasefire supposedly designed to lead to joint US-Russia strikes on Nusra after a week. The ceasefire did last seven days, and Pentagon officials were still openly opposing the idea at that point, when the ceasefire ultimately collapsed.

Since then, the US has been condemning Russian and Syrian airstrikes against Nusra as “brutality” that proves they have no interest in a peace deal, even though such operations were meant initially to include the US, and Nusra-held Aleppo was always meant to be targeted under the deal.

Assad was a bit more contrite about international criticism of strikes which hit hospitals and other civilian targets in Aleppo, insisting it was not a matter of policy to attack such cites deliberately, saying any such attacks were “mistakes.”

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • richard young

    The author goes pretty easy on our (US) Government’s responsibility for the failure of peace talks in Syria. The central fact that he and our mainstream media fail to mention is that our Government agreed to persuade the so-called “moderate rebels” to separate themselves from Al Qaeda (Al Nusra/Al Sham) within one week — and then to join forces with Russia and the Syrian government to attack the Al Qaeda forces which in fact have been dominating the “rebels” in and around Aleppo for a long time. Not only did the “moderate rebels” refuse to separate from their Al Qaeda leaders, but our Government did absolutely nothing to persuade them to do so. Have there been any reports whatsoever on any meaningful actions that our Government has taken to persuade/pressure our Government’s pet (and largely fictional) “moderate rebels” to stop acting as human shields for Al Qaeda? In a word, no.

  • Mark Thomason

    “the general lack of will among US officials to come to the table on any deal that would allow fighting against Nusra”

    Also any deal that would allow Assad to remain. American negotiations wanted peace only if that was also a win on all key points. Since they lost on the battlefield, demanding a win anyway as condition of peace is not seeking peace.