The US Department of State has admitted that the US-led coalition does not target the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group in Syria because they have become too ‘intermingled’ with moderates and civilians.
The US Department of State said that the US does not target the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham [previously known as the Al-Nusra Front or the Jabhat al-Nusra] because they have become too ‘intermingled’ with moderates and civilians, and also accused Russia of causing the mess, which does not let Washington to separate the groups.
On Friday, giving an interview to the BBC, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov once again said that Washington never fulfilled its obligation to separate the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and other groups of the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition, supported by the US. He also suggested that the US has been keeping terrorists in Syria, hoping that they will be useful for potentially deposition of the Bashar al-Assad’s government.
“They still, in spite of many repeated promises and commitments … are not able or not willing to do this and we have more and more reasons to believe that from the very beginning the plan was to spare al-Nusra and to keep it just in case for ‘Plan B’ … when it would be time to change the regime,” Lavrov said.
However, the US Department of State denied Lavrov’s statements and accused Moscow of making the “moderate” opposition to intermingle with terrorist fighters on the battlefield against the Syrian Army.
On Friday, spokesman for the US Department of State, Mark Toner, noted that Washington exerted every possible effort to influence and separate moderates from terrorists, and stressed that the ‘moderate’ opposition have been “driven more or less into the arms” and have no other choice, but to “turn to the Nusra, fight side by side.”
The official also admitted that the US-led coalition had not targeted the al-Nusra for several months due to the fact that its members had become “intermingled” with other groups and civilians.
“We did carry out strikes initially, back in 2014-2015, against Nusra. But absolutely, you’re correct in that, as they became intermingled and as they became intermingled in civilian areas, we’ve always sought to limit the possibility of civilian casualties in any of our airstrikes,” Toner said. “We wanted to work in a very strategic fashion about how to take out senior Nusra leadership like we’ve done pretty effectively against ISIL [the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group]. And that doesn’t include just laying waste to populated areas that may be under Nusra’s control,” he added.