Russian Air Strikes Kill 45 Members of Rebel Group Participating in Russian Peace Talks

It is not clear why Russian fighter jets targeted members of the Faylaq Al-Sham rebel group on Saturday, killing 45 of its fighters according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The rebels targeted have been participating in the peace talks being held under the aegis of Russia according to the French news agency AFP. Also confusing is the location of the air assault: in the so-called “de-confliction zone” – one of four truce zones — set by Russia itself, its ally Syria and for the rebels, Turkey. The Faylaq Al-Sham group is an example of the confusing pairing of enemies and enemies of enemies that typify the fighting in the Syrian civil war. It is an Islamist group with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, but has battled a former Al-Qa’ida franchise that controls the Idlib area. On Sunday, Russia lost a general to ISIS mortar fire. Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov was advising Syrian forces retaking the city of Deir ez-Zor.

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