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Syrian rebel downbeat on ceasefire chances, cites Nusra problem
February 22, 2016 / 7:34 PM / 2 years ago

Syrian rebel downbeat on ceasefire chances, cites Nusra problem

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A U.S.-Russian plan for a cessation of hostilities in Syria is flawed because it will allow the government and its allies to target rebel forces on the grounds they are attacking the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, a rebel leader said on Monday.

Bashar al-Zoubi, head of the political office of the Yarmouk Army, a Free Syrian Army group, said he expected Damascus and its Russian allies to continue to attack opposition-held territory on the pretext of fighting the Nusra Front.

“Russia and the regime will target the areas of the revolutionaries on the pretext of the Nusra Front’s presence, and you know how mixed those areas are, and if this happens, the truce will collapse,” he said.

Zoubi said it was “not possible” to identify positions held by the Nusra Front, particularly in northern Syria. The cessation of hostilities does not include the Nusra Front or Islamic State. Zoubi also said it was unfortunate that Syrians were “absent from” the talks on the ceasefire.

Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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