Following an airstrike offer to the FSA earlier this week, southern rebels said they may be open to negotiations with Russia in the future, so long as Moscow stopped bombing their allies in the north. But Thursday's news of an expanded Russian bombing campaign will probably change that.
An AFP report Thursday quotes UK-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who said "warplanes that are believed to be Russian carried out strikes on the Hara, Tal Antar, Kafr Nasaj and Aqraba areas of northern Daraa" Wednesday night.
If conflrmed, this would be the first time Moscow's bombing campaign has set its sights so far south. Since the beginning of the campaign late last month, Russia's warplanes have focused on protecting the Assad regime's coastal heartland as well as positions around Aleppo. Often, these have included northern rebel territory.
That's why Russia's airstrike offer was rejected outright by most FSA groups earlier this week, but the southern rebels were less hasty to turn them down. Back then, a spokesman for the FSA's Southern Front told the BBC his group might be open to future talks but Moscow would first need to "stop attacking [FSA] bases."
Of course, that was also back when Daraa itself was not the sie of the strikes. So far no new comment has come from the Southern Front.
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