The United States has told Syrian rebel factions they should not expect military support to help resist a Russian-backed government offensive to regain opposition-held parts of Syria bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
A copy of a message sent by Washington to heads of Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups, which was seen by Reuters, said the U.S. government wanted to make clear that “you should not base your decisions on the assumption or expectation of a military intervention by us”.
The United States had earlier warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies that violations of a “de-escalation” zone agreed by the United States and Russia last year would have “serious repercussions” and pledged “firm and appropriate measures.”
The toughly worded statements had raised the hopes of the Western-backed opposition of a possible American military intervention in the event that the Syrian army’s bombing campaign broadens to an all-out offensive across the southwest.
The U.S. message also told the rebels it was left to them alone to decide how to face the Syrian army’s military campaign based on what they saw was best for themselves and their people.