Friday, 9 October 2015
Russia just handed ISIS a 'big win' in Syria's largest city
'ISIS militants seized five villages on the northern edge of Aleppo, putting them within 1 mile of territory held by the Syrian regime, Reuters reports. Russian airstrikes in the area reportedly killed hundreds of anti-regime rebels, many of whom ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, and Daesh) was also fighting. "Daesh has exploited the Russian air strikes and the preoccupation of the (rebel) Free Syrian Army in its battles in Hama, and advanced in Aleppo," one rebel commander told Reuters.
"The Russians are following the same script as the Syrian regime, which is basically to avoid ISIS as much as they can because ISIS is useful," Hassan said. "ISIS can attack the rebels. It’s not in the heartlands, it's in areas that are farther away. ... If ISIS attacks the rebels in Aleppo, that’s good news for the Russians and the regime." Consequently, Russia would hit ISIS harder only if the group creeps into regime strongholds. "The regime and Russians will focus on the heartlands — Hama, Damascus, but not Palmyra," which is an ISIS stronghold, Hassan said.'
Compare that to Patrick Cockburn's latest litany of misdirection*:
"There have been a lot of air strikes around Palmyra, and I think that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which [is pro-opposition], I think yesterday they said there have been 34 strikes there. And to the west of there. There seem to be a lot of strikes there. It's fairly clear that the Russians are attacking ISIS and they're also attacking Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, which are--Jabhat al-Nusra is the Al-Qaeda representative. Ahrar al-Sham is not much different. These are all from some, in the Western media, described as [moderates]. I don't know why, because they really are not. They're very much the same ideology as the Islamic State. A lot of their commanders are former Islamic [State], ISIS people."