The US “is effectively siding with a branch of Al-Qaeda” in Syria, Peter Ford told RT, speaking of Washington’s recent request to Moscow not to target Al-Nusra positions with air strikes for the sake of moderate opposition groups located in the same area.
The former ambassador denounced the move as “not reasonable at all” and “grotesque.” He also sharply criticized the US for their“obsession with getting rid of Assad and the secular government in Syria” that leads them right to the alliance with “their arch-enemies”and to the loss of “all moral and practical competence.”
“We can only hope that it is a temporary aberration and they will soon return to their senses,” Ford told RT, urging the US government to abandon their policy of de facto aiding Al-Qaeda’s affiliate. He also expressed his support for Russia’s “very reasonable demand that the forces of the so-called moderate opposition disentangle themselves from the embraces of Al-Nusra and allow Al-Nusra to be bombed.”
The former ambassador also stressed that there is “virtually no difference” between Al-Nusra and such groups as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Fatah as they are “indistinguishable” in terms of ideology, sectarian bias and their practical methods consisting of “massacres and ruthlessness.”
He also emphasized that the only difference between Al-Nusra and other groups that western countries, including the US, portray as “moderate opposition” lies in the field of tactics.
“The so-called moderate groups pay lip service to the idea that Syria might end up with a secular system after negotiations provided only that Assad will go. They pay lip service to this but anyone, who believes it must be a fool but the Americans use this as a reason or the pretext not to go after these groups,” Ford said.
The former ambassador denounced the US’ “obsession with getting rid of Assad, which they euphemistically call ‘transition’ in the context of the negotiations” as an attempt to carry out another regime change as they previously did in Iraq and Libya.
“They are keen, it seems, to repeat the same mistakes in Damascus,” Ford said, commenting on the US continuous efforts to oust the Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.
At the same time, he warned that “it is really dangerous to mainstream these jihadi groups with a handful of genuinely democratic secular oppositionists, who are the tiny minority of the opposition on the ground,” referring to such groups as Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, which the US, France, the UK, and Ukraine refused to designate as terrorist organizations and add them to a UN Security Council (UNSC) blacklist.
On June 5, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UN, in which it alleged that some of the so-called “moderate”opposition groups had been shelling residential areas in Aleppo, Syria, alongside Al-Nusra Front. The ministry also accused some regional powers, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, of “sponsoring terrorists” and attempting to derail the peace negotiations in Geneva.
The letter designated such groups as Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, and Jaish al-Fatah as Al Nusra’s “affiliates” and criticized some members of the UNSC for their refusal to add them to the UN list of terrorist groups.
In the meantime, terrorist shellings of Syrian cities have resulted in the deaths of more than 270 civilians within the last 24 hours, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham have also conducted joint attacks in the Kurdish-controlled Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood in the northern part of Aleppo that particularly left 40 people dead.
These shelling and attacks, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, became possible due to the fact that the terrorists’ positions were not targeted for some time by Russian air forces at the request of the United States. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Washington asked Russia not to target Al-Nusra Front precisely because the terrorist group is sharing territory with some “moderate” opposition groups that might also potentially be hit in airstrikes.