The U.S. admits that the upcoming Aleppo offensive by the Syrian government and its allies is designed to hit al-Qaeda and associated terrorist forces and not primarily the « moderate » unicorns the U.S. propaganda blushes about. But the openly U.S. supported forces will also be hit as they are very much integrated with al-Qaeda. The U.S. has for long considered al-Qaeda a secret ally in its attempt to destroy the Syrian state. The French magazine L’Orient Le Joursees the U.S. relation with al-Qaeda in Syria as part of the attrition strategy the U.S. is waging against Syria (and Russia).
Secretary of State Kerry tried to convince the Russian that al-Qaeda should not be attacked during the cessation of hostilities. But the Russian’s did not agree. Al Qaeda is a UN recognized international terrorist organization which, under UNSC resolutions, must be fought. The U.S. only succeeded in downgrading the permanent ceasefire the Russians had preferred to into a temporary cessation hostilities. It thought to use the time to rearm and to regroup its proxy forces.
But then thing went wrong. An offensive along the Turkish border to push away the Islamic State and to seal the border between the Islamic State and Turkey failed. Al-Qaeda convinced other groups, including directly U.S. supported CIA assets, to prematurely attack Syrian government forces south of Aleppo on Tal el-Eis. The attack mad only little progress before it was stopped.
Now al-Qaeda and the U.S. proxies are heavily targeting the government held western arts of Aleppo city:
Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai 13h13 hours ago
#Aleppo observed the most violent day in d history of d war in #Syria causing 21 killed & 95 wounded. Every single street was hit by rebels+Since the announcement of the cease-fire, over 492 killed & wounded were registered in the only 2 hospitals in regime held area in #Aleppo.
Rebels hell bombs fell on all streets w/o exception while a group of rebels were trying 2infiltrate d city in West #Aleppo, trapped n sewage
This continued today
Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai 2h2 hours ago
17 killed and 92 wounded in #Aleppo regime controlled area today following rebels Hell cannon bombing. #Syria.
These attacks on the population are designed to bait the Syrian government forces into an immediate all-out attack into the al-Qaeda held parts of Aleppo city. I doubt that they will fall for it. The response for now will be more intense bombing in preparation for a well thought out attack later on.
Kerry recently again tried to convince the Russian government of partitioning Syria into « zones of interest ». This would shield terrorist forces form further Syrian and Russian attacks:
We’ve even proposed drawing a line, an absolute line, and saying, ‘You don’t go over there, we don’t go over here, and anything in between is fair game.’ And they are considering that, and I think we will get there in the next week or so.
The rather harsh public response to that Kerry nonsense came in today:
MFA Russia @mfa_russia
#Lavrov: Splitting Syria into zones of influence is a simplistic idea; the main objective must be to route terrorism @mod_russia @RussiaUN#Lavrov: US has not fulfilled its promise made two months ago to move “good opposition forces” away from the terrorist front lines in Syria
#Lavrov: The US State Dept. may shy away from cooperation with Russia, but there is no place for shyness in the fight against terrorism
#Lavrov: The UNSC declared Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist group. Those who want to distance themselves from this group should do so physically
Translation: Get your proxies out of the way or they will get hurt badly.
The U.S. « plan B » of splitting Syria into statelets has been rejected by the Syrian government and its allies.
The Syrian government and its allies are convinced that they can beat al-Qaeda and its various associates on the battle field. They are preparing a large attack against al-Qaeda and anyone nearby. There is little the U.S. can do to help the designated terrorists of al-Nusra in west Syria. But it continues its attempts to split Syria by inserting more of its special forces into north east Syria. These and their Kurdish proxy fighters have the task to take as much of eastern Syria from the Islamic State and others as possible before the Syrian government forces can do so. The thinking is that any captured town will be an asset in future negotiations. It will be interesting to see how the Syrian government and its allies will counter that move.