The Daily Beast reports: The U.S. quickly is running out of options to stop the regime and Russia on Syria’s eastern Aleppo, U.S. officials concede, and they fear that abandoned U.S.-backed rebels could increasingly turn to jihadists groups, like al Qaeda, for protection.
In addition, two U.S. officials told the Daily Beast, they fear the defeat of rebels in Syria’s largest city could weaken U.S.-backed groups in other areas around including Idlib, Hama and Latakia.
That is, the collapse of rebel held areas of eastern Aleppo could mean not just a stronger position for Syrian President Bashar al Assad but radical terror groups, the last remaining opposition forces still standing. The fate of Aleppo could be the turning point of the five-year civil war.
“The rebels have been willing to go along with the coalition up until now. But how long can they hold out against a [Russian] assault?” one distraught U.S. official asked.
If that happens, it will validate a long standing Russian narrative that U.S. backed rebels are not moderate as the U.S. claims but radical elements seeking to destroy Syria. And forcing such groups toward more radical elements may be the very intent behind their aggressive assault on eastern Aleppo for the last week, which was launched after the collapse of the latest cease fire. [Continue reading…]