Syrian ceasefire in jeopardy as Russia accuses US of working with ISIS

Residents look for survivors after a bombing raid in the city of Aleppo, Syria on September 17 /Reuters, Abdalrhman Ismail

An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was called after US-led forces killed dozens of Syrian troops in a bombing raid. The Syrian civil war ceasefire brokered between the United States and Russia on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition, was negotiated and implemented only last week and may now be in jeopardy.

CNBC reports that a Russian official told the media she thinks the US is supporting ISIS. “We are reaching a really terrifying conclusion for the whole world: That the White House is defending Islamic State. Now there can be no doubts about that,” said Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, advisor to the Syrian president, speaking in an interview with the BBC, seemed to be in agreement, and suggested that US-led forces were working with rebel groups to attack the Syrian army. Shaaban said Russian forces were not informed as to where the US air strike would take place and who they intended to hit.

The Pentagon expressed regret for the “unintentional loss of life.” Shaaban, however, told the BBC “It is not enough to express regret,” and suggested it “doesn’t make sense,” that the US army would have so much difficulty in finding the right target.

The ceasefire was partially intended to allow humanitarian groups access to some of the most affected regions of the country, but not been much of a success. As of Friday, about 40 United Nations aid vehicles heading for the city of Aleppo were still stuck at the border between Syria and Turkey, waiting for the all-clear to enter the embattled city. On Sunday, the BBC reported that four more airstrikes had struck the rebel-held city, though who is responsible for them was unclear.

Should the ceasefire hold, US and Russian forces are meant to begin a co-ordinated attack against militant groups including Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front.

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