On Thursday, UN Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura offered a direct appeal to the notorious terror organization Al-Nusra Front (Syria’s longtime al-Qaeda affiliate) calling on the group to immediately evacuate from the besieged city of Aleppo because their presence undermines efforts at peace and place civilians unnecessarily in the direct line of fire.
Mistura in his statement demanding that the terrorists leave East Aleppo said that their presence “keeps hostage [the civilians in the] city, because 1,000 of you are deciding the destiny of the 275,000 civilians” in the war torn area of what was once Syria’s economic center.
"If you did decide to leave, in dignity, and with your weapons, to Idlib, or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally, I am ready physically to accompany you," said de Mistura who has gone to extraordinary lengths to repair the broken hopes for peace and to bind the world powers – East and West – to a compromise that may allow for an enduring peace.
The diplomat also called on both the Syrian and Russian governments to end the siege in East Aleppo, despite growing concerns that the terrorist organization is being maintained to fill the vacuum against the Syrian government upon the toppling of Daesh (ISIS), saying that the humanitarian costs "for the sake of eliminating 1,000 al-Nusra fighters" is not worth it.
The terrorist group looks increasingly to be a power player in the absence of Syrian and Russian military action after having broken off officially from al-Qaeda in a bid to rebrand themselves now going by the name Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in order to join forces with the US-backed rebels – a posture that al-Qaeda supported in accepting the group’s break off from the terror network.
Since that time, Al-Nusra Front has been at the vanguard of the fight against Syrian Army forces being almost single-handedly responsible for a temporary fracture of the Aleppo siege one month ago and becoming so intertwined with the so-called “moderate” rebels that groups like Ahrar al-Sham (the second largest rebel group) refused to participate in a US-Russia brokered ceasefire and said that it was “impossible” for them to disband from Al-Nusra Front.
More concerning is that offshoots of the Daesh (ISIS) terror network are now beginning to defect into the ranks of the Al-Nusra Front with one such group, Jund al-Aqsa, pledging allegiance to the de facto al-Qaeda affiliate this weekend in order to wage "jihad against the infidels."
Despite the mixed allegiances of the so-called moderates with the two most notorious terror organizations – al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS) – the Obama administration continues to take a position in support of the rebels and have blasted Russia and Syria for engaging in strikes to neutralize the terrorist organizations.