Via RT France:
While a major offensive seems to be readying in northern Syria, war reporter Pierre Piccinin recalls that the Syrian “rebels” are in fact a conglomerate of fighters led by Fatah al-Sham, alias the al-Nosra Front.
Tension rises in Idleb as an offensive by government forces seems to be readying against the jihadists entrenched in the city. Pierre Piccinin, war reporter and writer, reported to RT France about fears of a chemical attack.
“Until now, it has not been possible to identify the origin of the attacks. The [Damascus] government, for its part, has no real interest in carrying out chemical attacks,” he said. And to continue: “It would simply put its allies in trouble in the UN Council […] On the other hand, I think that the rebels have understood that a chemical attack no longer leads to retaliation by the West, or to very symbolic responses.” — a reference to the Western strikes against Syria of April 2018.
On Aug. 22, US National Security Adviser John Bolton brandished the threat of a US strike, already predicting an alleged use of chemical weapons by Damascus as part of military operations in Idleb. On August 30, the UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was also worried about the possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army, as well as by rebel fighters. Moscow, lastly, also warned against a possible staging of chemical attack by the rebels, which would serve to point blame on the Syrian government and to provoke an American military intervention.
Pierre Piccinin also recalled what was meant by the term “rebels” in the Syrian conflict, and more specifically in the Idleb region. The Syrian revolution has long since been over: the rebels of the Free Syrian Army no longer exist […] in Idleb, it’s the Al-Nusra Front,” he said. After changing its name to Fatah al-Sham, the al-Nusra Front merged with other Islamist armed groups to form the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which currently holds Idleb.
Damascus explained its intention to liberate the city of Idleb and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Syrian government was justified in fighting and eliminating terrorist groups. “There is still the task of liquidating the remaining pockets of terrorism, especially in the Idleb de-escalation zone,” he said on August 31.