Amid accusations by the United States Russia is conducting airstrikes on “moderate” opposition to the government of Bashar al-Assad, a Kremlin spokesman hinted all the mercenaries in Syria are “immoderate.”
“I don’t think anybody has yet explained what moderate opposition is, and Putin demonstrated quite active interest in the issue and asked in which way the moderate opposition was different from the immoderate opposition,” Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, told Rossiya 1 TV.
On Friday in Paris at the Normandy format talks the issue was discussed. During the meeting Putin had one-on-one conversations with German and French leaders.
Putin told his French counterpart Francois Hollande Russia is targeting terrorists and protecting the territorial integrity of Syria.
The Normandy format consists of diplomatic discussions between Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France and concentrate primarily on the situation in East Ukraine.
No Moderate Opposition in Syria
The United States has yet to provide an adequately explanation on the difference between moderate and Islamic jihadists in Syria.
Last October Vice President Joe Biden alluded to the truth about the so-called moderates fighting in Syria.
Biden said U.S. “allies in the region” are “our largest problem in Syria.”
What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad, and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied… were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world.
Biden’s remark was portrayed in the West as another of his infamous gaffes. Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, however, were not laughing.
The commentary elicited “a furious reaction from (Turkish president) Erdogan” and the UAE expressed “astonishment” at Biden’s accusations, according to The Washington Post.
“The Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council, the vaunted bulwarks of the moderate opposition, only really exist in hotel lobbies and the minds of Western diplomats,” Ben Reynolds wrote in October, 2014. “There is simply no real separation between ‘moderate’ rebel groups and hardline Salafists allied with al-Qaeda.”
The New York Times has dispelled the myth there is such a thing as a secular and moderate opposition to the Syrian government.
“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” Ben Hubbard wrote for the newspaper on April 27, 2013.
Even the Free Syrian Army (FSA), long portrayed as secular, is rife with jihadists.
“The Wall Street Journal reports that Brig. Gen. Mithkal Albtaish, an FSA leader, says that the organization is ‘dominated by Islamist groups that are in close coordination with al Nusra,’ the al-Qaeda aligned terrorist group. The idea, then, that the FSA is secular is mistaken,” writes Stephen Gowans.
Moreover, droves of FSA members have joined the Salafist mercenaries who have declared they will establish an Islamic caliphate ruled by Sharia law if they successfully overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
“The FSA’s Ahrar al-Shimal brigade joined al-Nusra en masse while the Sufiyan al-Thawri brigade in Idlib lost 65 of its fighters to al-Nusra a few months ago for lack of weapons. According to one estimate the FSA has lost a quarter of all its fighters,” The Guardian reported in May, 2013.
Despite the indisputable fact little if any of the fighters in Syria are secular, the establishment media continues to insist Russia is targeting moderate forces in Syria.