Free Syrian Army Denies Military Cooperation with Russia

Representatives of the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) told Reuters that Russian aviation not only supports them, but also regularly bombs rebel forces.

Groups identifying themselves as FSA, together with Kurdish police, formed a new coalition called the "Democratic Forces of Syria" (DFS), which has received U.S. support for fighting ISIL.

The Alliance has acknowledged that Russian air strikes indirectly helped them during the recent battles with the enemies of "al-Nusra", a member of terrorist organization al-Qaeda.  However, they denied receiving direct Russian support.

The DFS representative, Talal Salah, said that a member of the DFS and related to the FSA group "Jaish al-Tovar" ("Army of Revolutionaries") was recently surrounded by the Islamist groups of "Ahrar al-sham" and "Front of the Levant", operating with the support of Turkey to the North of Aleppo.

Russian aircraft attacked the Islamists, which that led to rumors about the DFS colluding with the Russian military, Salah said.  The representative of the FSA claimed that they had no contacts with the Russian side.  A blow to the Islamists was caused because the Russians saw in the buildup of enemy forces a good tactical opportunity for inflicting damage.

Earlier, the Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov said that units of the Syrian Free Army, which are fighting against the President, Bashar al-Assad, now are fighting against the Islamic State. Government forces and the Russian groups in Syria have provided them with military assistance.

In the past, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin spoke at the annual meeting of the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. He said that Russia assists not only government troops in Syria but also the "Free Syrian Army" to seek the overthrow of the President, Bashar al-Assad.

Later the President's Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov said that Russia is supplying arms to legitimate authorities of Syria.  "Russia supplies arms to the Syrian Arab Republic, the legitimate government of Syria," he said, answering a question about whether Russia supplies weapons to the so-called "moderate opposition" in Syria.

  Syria, Syrian Conflict, Russian Troops, Russia


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