Saturday, August 6, 2016

Russia Entices U.S.-Trained Syrian Rebels To Switch Sides

Free Syrian Army fighters (Reuters/Muzaffar Salman) / Reuters

Michael Weiss, Daily Beast: Russia Is Trying to Poach U.S.-Trained Rebels With ‘Unlimited’ Weapons in Syria

American trained and armed, but often disappointed by Washington and dissatisfied, this brigade finds Russian offers of support enticing.

The Russian government is trying to poach Syrian rebels trained and equipped by the United States for the war against ISIS, according to the political leader of a prominent Pentagon-backed brigade in Aleppo—and the rebels are strongly considering Russia’s offer.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Mustafa Sejry of the Liwa al-Mu’tasim Brigade said that he met personally with a Moscow representative the Syrian-Turkish border 10 days ago and was offered “unlimited amounts of weaponry and close air support” to fight both ISIS and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the rebranded al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, in exchange for the Mu’tasim Brigade’s transfer of loyalties from Washington to Moscow.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russians know the price to get these rebels on their side .... and are willing to pay it. As for the U.S. .... they probably also know what is the price to keep these rebels loyal to them, but the U.S. is not willing to spend it.


mlacix said...

I think it's a little bit more to this story than just how Russia try to "buy" a rebel brigade in Syria. We are already passed the point when US had influence on the "moderate rebels" of Idlib and Aleppo areas, and the turning point was when the SAA-Kurd forces cut the rebel supply line that went up to the town of Azaz, from the city of Aleppo. Like some years before, US supplied rebels who operated in other areas too, such as Idlib and Latakia, but there was a shift after IS stood up in some areas, and the US focus (or the lack of focus) shifted and became limited to the Northern Aleppo (Azaz) area, where rebel groups still fought agains IS. The mentioned group, this "Al-Moutasem Brigade" is also operating in the norhtern area, around Meree.

When SAA cut the connection between rebels on the north and the rest of the rebels, and when Kurds psuhed hard on rebels on the North pocket, it was clear that there is no chance the trapped rebels could get out of this situation alive. Fighting IS, Kurds, SAA and RuAF cannot be done for so long, and the rebels are not able to open a corridor that could reach this pocket (even if with the help of Turkey some houndred fighter were transported inside Turkey, from Latakia to Azaz, to fix the frontline, right after the cut-off happened).

But things keep chaning. The coup in Turkey, and Erdogan's leaning toward Russia (it's also interesting that the negotiation taking place in Istambul), the Kurdish advance that reached Manbij (and as reports arrived today, there is only one small IS pocket remained inside the town and the full liberation is just days away) will not stop there, and the rebls of Azaz area is in the way to unite the Kurdish controlled areas. It's only a matter of time, but to be more precise just weeks and months before rain will fall on that named brigade again, and this would be the last time for tham. But noone want more casualties than whats must have happen, and seems like this brigade know that eighter this cooperation happen or they die. So the rebel group is not really in charge of this negotiation, more like they need to eat what they get.

In case if they "switch side", their fighters are in a few hundreds, but some other rebel groups would still remain in Azaz area. But it would be a good show off for other rebel brigades who are not cheer for the new renamed AQ/Nusrah, and similar "switches" could also happen in other frontlines which are not that much active lately (like North Homs pocket, pockets effected by truce in Damascus gov. area, and the city of Dara on the South). Sure Russia sending a message to US, but there is more to gain for Russia than just showing off to the US. And I doubt that the US administration would take risks in Syria when this could effect the upcoming election.

As a side note there are huge happenings in the SW Aleppo front, and seems like the siege theoretically broken, but the situation is still not clear enough, and the break is so small that hard to talk about effects yet.

Miguel LM said...

Rebels side by side with the russians LOL. What are you smoking?

Right now all the rebels in Aleppo and Idlib are united, fighting Assad, Hezb, Iran, Russia. Do you think that the ones (rebels) in north Aleppo will be BFF with the russians?

Jay Farquharson said...

Through the Reconciliation Process, to date, since Feb, 308 jihadi groups have either disbanded, or joined up with the SAA.

The Foreign Fighters amongst those groups are being processed and will be repatriated. The first group, 112 French, 19 Brits, 2 Kosovars, 3 Bosnian's, 17 Ukrainian's and 108 Poles should be arriving home next week.

Miguel LM said...

308 groups wow ... so tell me wow with - 308 groups they defeated Rus,Iran,Hez, Assad, Mercs in South Aleppo.

Can you explain that ...

leave the drugs mn or get better info.

mlacix said...

Well the word "group" have many different meaning, and yes it include even the bigger brances such as AN with some ten thousand fighter, but also the locally organised brigades of 40 fightes. I not yet heard about this 308 group that was mentioned, but I do know that truces and "side switching" happen all over Syria during the last year. Even if the number of figthers involved are not thousands, but in smaller pockets of resistances, and weaker frontliens even a few hundred fighter does make a different. As an addition the "side changing" is a thing, because some after the switch actually start to fight alongside SAA and NDF. This trend is not new, and as the gap geting wider between "somewhat moderated rebels/fighters who initially wanted to make a better Syria" and islamists (AN and IS) , just more will switch side. They may fought against SAA for years but many would better like a "somewhat limited" life, than living under IS. Also this mostly effect the middle and SW areas of Syria, rarely the North, and never IS.

About the "defeat in Aleppo", well it's depend on how you look at it, but you still could loose a war just because of you won a battle the way you fought it. This war is not about instant winning, and it never was and never will.

Jay Farquharson said...

when ISIS and al Nusra and their buddies are defeated in Iraq and Syria, they only have on place to retreat to, Europe.

Get ready to meet your new neighbors, they're not like the old neighbors.

Jay Farquharson said...

Wiki has listed over 4,851 "groups" alone.

al Nusra itself, is an alliance of 5 major groups, ( 57 subgroups), and is a member of 12 alliances forming "super groups".