US, Russia Trade Blame for Syria Woes

US: Russia's Call for Changes to Aleppo Deal 'Unacceptable'

by Jason Ditz, December 12, 2016

While Russia has high hopes for cooperation with the incoming Trump Administration on Syria policy, they still find themselves decidedly at odds with the Obama Administration over their respective priorities in Syria, and neither is shy about insisting that when things don’t go their way, it’s the other nation’s fault.

US officials blasted Russia for seeking “unacceptable” changes to a US proposed ceasefire in eastern Aleppo, a proposal which at this point is all but irrelevant since the rebels, which include al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front but which the US insists are “moderates,” have lost materially all their territory in recent days.

The US sees the losses in Aleppo as the result of Russia “delaying” the ceasefire, while Russian officials have said they view the US ceasefire proposal as a cynical attempt to try to save the rebels from losing and ensure the battle over the city continues.

Meanwhile, Russia saw the Syrian government’s loss of the city of Palmyra to an ISIS offensive as ultimately America’s fault, insisting that better cooperation between Russia and the US-led coalition in anti-ISIS operation could prevent ISIS from overrunning new territory, but “the US does not want to cooperate.”

The US has repeatedly rejected cooperation with Russia in fighting ISIS, but the loss of Palmyra is likely not related to that, since the precipitous defeat of Syrian forces around the ancient city appears to have been the result of Syria shifting its defenses elsewhere and leaving the area too exposed to a rapid ISIS offensive.

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