The leader of a rebel group in Syria, that has recently split from al-Qaeda, has condemned the US and Russian-brokered ceasefire, saying it places Washington and the UN on the side of Bashar Assad and against the Syrian people.
Under the ceasefire agreement, made by US and Russia who back opposing sides in the five-year-old war, a nationwide truce from sundown on Monday was promised,as well as improved access for humanitarian aid and joint military targeting of hardline Islamist groups.
Abu Mohammed al-Golani is the leader of the Fatah al-Sham Front, which was previously known as al-Nusra Front and claims to have severed ties with the global terror network.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV aired Saturday, al-Golani says the deal reached last week would allow Assad’s forces to advance, while eradicating any substantial armed challenge on the ground.
He said that UN special envoy for Syria is working with Assad regime to achieve a mutual agenda.
He said that the ceasefire adreement aims at giving Assad regime the opportunity to strengthen its positions while putting more pressure on the Syrian rebels and pushing them to surrender.
“The previous UN envoy, al-Ebrahimi, aimed at emptying Homs city of its citizens and handing it to the regime to achieve its demographical change goal, while de Mistura works towards pushing the rebels in Aleppo to surrender,” al-Golani said.
“The UN is watching while the regime with its shiite militias keep putting a crippling siege on Aleppo and blocking aids from reaching needing civilians,” he added.
He explained that the Aleppo civilians won’t be suffering for long and the siege will be broken soon. “Assad regime posed siege for four years and we were able to break it in four days. We want allow this siege to persist and will put an end to it soon.”
Targeting “terrorists” in Syria
Al-Golani said that US and Russia’s common goal is to weaken rebels forces in Syria by targeting the active parts, and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham is the first one on the list.
Under the cease-fire agreement, the U.S. and Russia would work together to target Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, as well as the Islamic State group, while Assad’s forces refrain from striking opposition-held areas.
Golani warns that “if the U.S. takes this step, it will be in conflict not only with one faction but with the whole Syrian people.”
Golani’s fighters are one of the strongest factions fighting Assad regime, and they are deeply embedded in opposition areas and often fight alongside more moderate factions.
Golani praised the Syrian rebels decision as they refused to distance themselves from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham troops and said “this is an honorable move, and shows how they are committed to the Syrian people’s hopes and revolution.”
“The US is targeitng us because we are hindering their political project that aims at ending the revolution in Syria and devide it into smaller parts,” he said. “Any other group that opposes the US will be treated the same.”
The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.
Translated to Middle East Observer from al-Jazeera