The announcement raised concerns of new tensions between the USA and Russian Federation over developments in Syria.
So while the kingdom itself may admonish its citizens against backing al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, their talking points appear to be setting the stage for calls to arms like these which will do exactly that, and advances a narrative in which nations like Russian Federation, in fighting ISIS, are “taking sides” with the Shi’ites against Sunni Islam.
According to the United States embassy in Moscow, President Putin and his United States counterpart Barack Obama have common interests in the fight against the IS in Syria and have agreed to create a communication channel between the countries’ military branches to avoid misunderstandings during operations in the area.
Moscow has justified its mission in Syria as an attempt to help the weakened Syrian regime fend off ISIL and what it called other terrorist groups, but analysts say that Russia’s choice of targets betrays its true priority: saving the regime from further losses.
Twelve civilians were killed in strikes in the Al Ahmar valley east of Palmyra, according to Khaled, an antigovernment activist from the city who is living in Turkey and said he was in contact with residents of the area.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Jabhat Al-Nusra did not sign the agreement, but many rebels and members of the opposition have made the case that Russian strikes are targeting groups that cooperate with the group. “Our planes in Syria do not strike populated areas and especially ones with architectural monuments”.
In the town of Saraqib in Idlib province, 23-year-old Raghda Ghanoum and her colleagues were working to set up a volunteer clinic to treat casualties from airstrikes.
The rebels say they hope so.
Mr Pushkov predicted that the Russian campaign would intensify but was unlikely to last more than three or four months.
“The middle ground (in the opposition) is being increasingly eroded”, said Matthew Henman, the head of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency.
Although the clerics who signed the online statement are not affiliated with the government, their strong sectarian and anti-Christian language reflects mounting anger among many Saudis over Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria’s civil war. It can not stop all private donations, often worth millions of dollars, from reaching the Islamic State and its affiliates, however. After using barrel bombs last week, Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets in two villages urging they surrender to the military, he said, speaking on condition he be identified as Bebars al-Talawy, the name he uses in his political activities because he fears for his safety. “This will force more Syrians to migrate or force fighters to hand themselves in”.