Jabhat Fath Sham (previously Jabhat Nusra) issued a statement titled “Russian-American agreement… a new conspiracy, a united stance” dated 13/09/2016. In the statement they thanked their fellow rebel groups in their statement for standing alongside them after American and Russian attempts to once again marginalise JFS from the Syrian revolution. “We in JFS thank all those who have aided us in private or in public”.
This statement was released in reference to John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s agreement to “…work together to develop military strikes against Nusrah” once the initial period of the cessation of hostilities holds. The proposed period for the cessation of hostilities is 7 days.
The response of the various rebel groups in northern Syria, specifically in the besieged city of Aleppo, was a unanimous agreement to stand alongside JFS even though some of those groups have previously had disagreements with JFS. For example Ahrar Al-Sham, one of the most powerful rebel factions in Syria, said in their official statement regarding the proposed cessation of hostilities: “We refuse the targeting of JFS or any other group that fights the regime”. The statement further added: “The aim of this is to weaken the military power of the revolution and to strengthen the regime of Al-Assad”.
JFS said in their statement: “Plotting against the people of Sham has reached to the extent of the division between the various Mujahid factions and the targeting of them one after the other”. In this they expressed their belief that they will be the first to be targeted only to be followed by the targeting and marginalisation of another group and then yet another.
JFS also accused the Kerry-Lavrov agreement of “safeguarding Al-Assad’s regime and institutions”. Ahrar Al-Sham seemed to echo the same sentiment in their statement that this agreement helps the regime to achieve it’s goals: “Our families are being dragged into the regime’s policy of “starvation or submission”. A policy that this criminal, terrorist regime has been implementing to force our families into leaving their homes as happened in Daryaa and as is happening currently in Homs and the countryside of Damascus”.
Kerry stated in the Geneva conference on the 9th of September that Al-Nusrah is “an organisation that is an enemy to the legitimate opposition”. However, all rebel groups have decided to stand by JFS and have all issued statements that they refuse the targeting of the fellow rebel faction.