The Free Syrian Army soldiers admit they won’t be able to claim capital Damascus without foreign support, but their aren’t counting on it anymore as the US and the Gulf states are “liars,” RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from rebel-held area in Syria.
The Russia-US deal has led to cancellation of US airstrikes against the targets of Syrian government and the Arab states holding back on their aid to the opposition forces.
But not everybody in the country wants a peaceful solution to the 2.5-year-long civil war as the rebels have accused their foreign backers of not keeping their promises.
“The security belt that the regime created around Damascus is huge and to target it we need many fighters and advanced weapons, and to be honest we don’t have such kind of weapons,” Oraba Idriss, who defected the government forces to become the 1st Maghaweer brigade commander for the Free Syrian Army, told RT. “But what we can do – is launch operations here and there to release the pressure of the regime.”
Last month’s attack on Maaloula, in the south-west of the country, could’ve been part of that strategy as the ancient, mostly-Christian settlement, remains the only obstacle preventing the fighters from two large Syrian battlegrounds uniting.
The village, which is loyal to the Syrian authorities, lies in a valley surrounded by mountains on the way from Homs to Damascus and is surrounded by villages held by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
FSA fighter, Abu al Hasan, said the rebels have the road leading to Damascus in their sight, but they “can’t reach it because of Maaloula”.
The militants can hold back the government troops, but they seem unable to make their own advances. In order for that to change the opposition needs more money from Gulf countries and American military aid, Abu Mohammad, an FSA fighter, who was injured in Maaloula, claims.
“If they [the US] strike with just ten rockets the regime of Bashar al Assad will fall by itself,” he said.
The US had considered “limited military action” on Syrian military bases over August’s chemical attacks they blamed on the forces of president Bashar Assad, but changed track after Russia pushed Washington to agree on a peaceful way forward.
Moscow proposed to hand the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal to international inspectors for destruction, with the initiative receiving full backing from the country’s authorities.
Despite preserving “non-lethal” aid to the rebels such as food and medicine, the Americans pulled its warships back from Mediterranean and put its tomahawks on hold.
The joint mission of international experts from the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , which is now working in the country, has finished inspecting of over 50 per cent Syrian chemical sides.
Russia and US continue their joint effort to stage the Geneva-2 conference, which is aimed at bringing the sides of the Syrian conflict to the negotiations table and find a diplomatic solution.
The international peace efforts became a huge disappointment for the rebels, who began losing faith in their foreign backers.
“All of them are liars, all of them. I don’t know how I can express it better and we are not hoping anything from them [US and Gulf states]. Whatever they say we don’t believe it,” Abu Mohamamd stressed.
With army forces struggling to combat fighters hidden in the mountain and militants helpless in the face of government’s tanks, artillery and aviation, Syria is at a deadly impasse, which will only see the conflict’s 100,000 death tall rising.
On Saturday, a suicide blast near Damascus ha skilled at least 16 government soldiers have been killed in a suicide blast near Damascus, the militant al-Nusra Front believed to be responsible for the attack.