Rebel fighters walk inside a market in the rebel-held al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria, September 17, 2016. Picture taken September 17, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Patrick Cockburn, The Independent: The US and Russia have less influence in Syria than they think
Despite 10 months of negotiations between the US and Russia, the two biggest players in the Syrian conflict, the ceasefire is close to unravelling.
At about 5pm on Saturday, two US F-16 fighter bombers and two A-10 specialised ground attack aircraft bombed what they believed was a concentration of Isis fighters besieging pro-government forces in the city of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.
Whoever it was in the US Air Force who had misidentified the target as Isis made a disastrous error; the US planes were attacking Syrian Army soldiers fighting Isis at a position called Jebel Tharda close to Deir Ezzor airport. The city has been besieged by Isis for over a year and 110,000 civilians are trapped inside. By the time the US bombing raid was over it had killed at least 62 Syrian soldiers and injured another 100, enabling Isis to overrun the survivors before being forced to retreat by a counter-attack backed by Russian airstrikes.
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WNU Editor: I concur with this analysis. The real players in this conflict are the fighters and their commanders on the ground (on both sides) .... plus their regional allies (Iran and Hezbollah on one side, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Turkey, etc. on the other).