Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, has threatened to provoke Russia in Syria and to disrupt the ceasefire in the country, according to a Die Welt correspondent who met one of the jihadists in person.
“Al-Nusra Front necessarily wants the ceasefire to fail and the strategy for this is to provoke Russians,” Die Welt quotes the militant as saying.
According to the Russia-US brokered deal on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, the ceasefire, which came into force early on Saturday, is to be applied to those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of its terms.
It is worth recalling that Al-Nusra Front, which announced its formation on January 23, 2012, was just ten days later designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization. In May 2013, the United Nations Security Council Committee also designated it as a terrorist organization and added it to the 'Al-Qaida Sanctions List' of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo.
Since December 2014, Russia has also labeled it as a terrorist organization. Among other countries that recognize it as such are the UK, France, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE and New Zealand. Germany, however, has yet to label the group as a terrorist organization.
With targeted offensives the jihadists plan to provoke retaliation from the Russian Air Force, which would accidentally hit the moderate factions who will find themselves in the line of fire. As soon as the moderate groups are under fire, the ceasefire will be disrupted.
The jihadist militant believes that the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad remains the only solution to the five-year civil war. "It has to be fought, everything else is an illusion," he claimed.