U.S. Syria envoy warns rebels of dire consequences of cooperating with former Nusra

AMMAN (Reuters) - Cooperation with Fateh al-Sham, formerly al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, could bring “dire consequences” for Syria’s mainstream rebel groups once a proposed U.S.-Russian deal to attack hardline Islamist militants comes into effect, Washington’s envoy to Syria said on Saturday.

In a letter to armed opposition groups seen by Reuters, Michael Ratney urged them to abide by the U.S.-Russian deal, saying it gave them the right of self-defense against attacks by the Syrian army and Russia.

He said the deal would end aerial bombardment by Russia and the Syrian air force of their positions and of civilians living in areas they control.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Kevin Liffey