As Russian-backed Assad regime troops prepare to initiate military operations to retake Southern Syria, the US told rebel forces that they would have to face this onslaught without foreign support.
A Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander provided Reuters with a copy of the message.
“We must clarify our position: we understand that you must make a decision (to fight) based on your interests, the interests of your people and your faction as you see them,” the message read in Arabic. “You should not base your decision on an assumption or expectation of military intervention from our side.”
“We in the United States government understand the difficult conditions you are facing and still advise the Russians and the Syrian regime not to undertake a military measure that violates the zone,” the message also said.
We knew anyway that they weren’t going to intervene, so we weren’t disappointed,” the anonymous commander said to Reuters. “The letter’s contents mean that America will not be able to help the south — in other words, they are saying ‘you’re on your own.’”
Reuters reported that a military aid program run by the Central Intelligence Agency had supported the moderate mainstream FSA faction with millions of dollars worth of arms and paid monthly salaries to thousands of rebels in the course of the seven-year civil war. This program was shut down by President Trump last year.
“We in the US government understand the difficult circumstances you are now facing, and we are still advising the Russians and the Syrian regime not to conduct any military action that will violate the de-escalation zone in southwest Syria,” Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN said in a statement. “Russia will ultimately bear responsibility for any further escalations in Syria.”