The Islamic State (ISIS) is benefiting from Russia’s intervention in Syria, exploiting the air strikes to advance in a number of villages and towns in the countryside of northern Aleppo, a rebel commander has said.
Major Yasser AbdulRahim, commander of the Aleppo Army of Conquest Operations Room, accused both Russia and the Assad regime of facilitating the progress of ISIS at the expense of the rebels by targeting opposition command centers and their popular support. He also held the international community responsible for turning a blind eye to the Russian intervention and attacks on the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and civilians.
AbdulRahim also called on the so-called Friends of the Syrian People group to urge an end to the Russian bombing. “If they are unable to do so, they should provide the opposition with weapons capable of stopping this bombing,” he added.
He also stressed that the opposition has resisted ISIS in its attempt to advance in the northern countryside of Aleppo, adding that coalition forces "do not seem seriously interested in coordinating with the opposition to stop the advance of ISIS towards the north.”
The Russian intervention, AbdulRahim said, is "proof that Iran and the Shiite militias loyal to the regime have failed in their attempt to stop the progress of the opposition, and that the Syrian revolution was advancing relatively well towards the overthrow of the regime," vowing to "transform Syria into a graveyard" for the Russians.
The rebel commander also described the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as a "terrorist organization", which has abducted children and women in a campaign of forced conscription. AbdulRahim also accused the YPG of "treason" and of "collaborating with Russia”, warning the US from dealing with the group as the YPG "may turn against them at any moment."
AbdulRahim vowed to respond to any aggression by the YPG against the Syrian opposition, adding that the Kurdish forces "had acted aggressively in the past, but were taught a lesson.” He also promised to protect civilians from the YPG’s actions, including those whom he described as "our Kurdish brothers."
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.