Syria conflict: FSA rebels reject Russia military help

Aleppo, Western-backed rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have rejected an offer of military support from Russia.

An FSA spokesman told the BBC that Moscow could not be trusted and that its help was not needed.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that Russia was ready to help the rebels if they attacked militants from the Islamic State (IS) group.

Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government, has carried out air strikes in the country since last month.

Moscow says the strikes have mainly targeted IS, but Western powers say most have hit the FSA and other factions backed by the West and Gulf states.

 In his offer to the FSA, Mr Lavrov said the Russian air force could support the FSA provided the US shared information about rebel positions.

But on Sunday, an FSA spokesman told the BBC that Russia had no role in Syria.

“[Russian President] Vladimir Putin, is assisting a regime that indiscriminately kills their own people,” Issam al-Reis said.

“How could we trust the Russians’ help?”

Mr Issam said the FSA would continue fighting President Bashar al-Assad, who “was not part of the solution” to ending Syria’s civil war.

“If the Syrians stood with Assad he would not ask for invaders to come to Syria,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has also insisted that President Assad should have no role in Syria’s “future”.

Russian air support has allowed President Assad’s forces to launch ground operations in several provinces in recent weeks.

The president for his part on Sunday hosted a visiting delegation of Russian parliamentarians in Damascus.

He again expressed his gratitude for Moscow’s support, and said that eliminating “terrorist” groups would resolve his country’s problems.

Source- BBC Middle East

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