Russia claims these are the FSA affiliates its helping fight Daesh

Published December 16th, 2015 - 01:40 GMT
Russian officials says they are helping the FSA—again. (AFP/File)
Russian officials says they are helping the FSA—again. (AFP/File)

This week, Russian officials listed a number opposition groups their warplanes are allegedly backing in Syria, apparently affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

This isn't the first time Russia has made claims like this—the country's officials have repeatedly claimed to have met with FSA congregations in Moscow, which opposition groups have then denied. 

But this time was a little different because Russia named specific groups, claiming over 5,000 opposition fighters were battling Daesh (ISIS) in conjunction with Syrian government forces. 

The General Staff of the Russian army released a statement during closed-door talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It detailed the number of fighters as well as the groups they belonged do, naming "Desert Lions," "Kalamun," "Democratic Forces" and "Ganim," according to Reuters. 

In the past, Russia's insistence on coordination with Syrian rebels has been a sticking point. This week's Russian statement said "actions by the so-called 'moderate opposition' against Islamic State have assisted the success of the land operation conducted by Syria's armed forces." 

But since the beginning of Russia's campaign in Syria, rebels on the ground have claimed their positions have been targeted by warplanes. US-backed troops have claimed the same. 

Meanwhile, an unnamed diplomat told Reuters Russia's claims this week were difficult to believe, saying it was "not the reality on the ground."

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