Quote: “The priority for the Russians is to protect ‘useful Syria’,” said Michel Goya, a military historian at Sciences Po university in Paris, referring to the densely populated western and coastal parts of the country where Syrian industry and agriculture are concentrated.
He said the Russians’ first priority was attacking Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra, who are a more immediate threat in those areas than IS.”
This is an interesting view and one that has been highlighted on The WIDER View previously.
Jabhat al Nusrah has steadily grown in numbers and increased its gains over the last couple of years. They have previously and continue to operate with other rebel groups gaining a reputation for being among the most ‘effective’ fighting forces in Syria’s opposition.
If other groups deemed moderate co-operate with fundamentalist groups like Jabhat al Nusrah then they may well be targeted by Russian and Syrian aircraft. This may account for at least some of the reports that moderates have been hit.
Regardless, it seems the Nusrah front are posing the most imminent geographical threat to Russian and Syrian Army forces.
Links to previous posts regrading Jabhat al Nusra in Syria: