Hardline Islamist rebels reject truce
AN influential Syrian rebel group, the hardline Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, has rejected the truce deal brokered by Russia and the United States.
A high-ranking member of the group, which works closely with former al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front, said that the deal would only serve to “reinforce” the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and “increase the suffering” of civilians.
Ahrar al-Sham, which has an influential presence on the ground in Syria’s brutal war, is the first rebel group to officially react to the deal reached on September 9 following marathon talks in Geneva.
“The people cannot accept halfsolutions,” the group’s deputy leader Ali al-Omar said in a YouTube video to mark the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha yesterday, when the truce was due to come into force.
Mr Omar also rejected the aspect of the deal in which Washington is supposed to convince mainstream opposition fighters to break their alliance with Fateh al-Sham.
That group, which is not covered by the truce deal, has also dismissed the accord.
“It’s simple: The Russian-American deal is intended to eliminate those who protect Syrians,” Fateh al-Sham spokesperson Mostafa Mahamed said.
“The negotiations and the deals which do not take account of fighters on the ground are useless.”
The truce comes with opposition forces struggling on the ground.
Pro-regime forces reimposed a devastating siege on Aleppo’s eastern districts last week in a major blow to the rebels. The Assad regime and its allies have said they will respect the truce deal. –
Firefighters extinguish a fire following an airstrike by forces loyal to the Syrian government in the rebel-held area of Douma on September 11. The strikes came a day ahead of a ceasefire agreed between Russia and the United States, as well as by Syria’s government, which took effect yesterday.