Syria sees Russia game changer, US-trained rebels enter fray

A rebel fighter fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with government forces and pro-regime shabiha militiamen on the outskirts of Syria's northwestern Idlib province on September 18, 2015Syria predicted Sunday that Russia’s growing military role will prove a game changer in the fight against jihadists, as 75 rebels trained under a beleaguered US programme entered the fray. US Secretary of State John Kerry, by contrast, said Moscow’s support for the regime in Damascus only risked sending more extremists to conflict-wracked Syria and could further hamper peace efforts to end the country’s years-long civil war. “More important than the supply of arms to Syria is Russia’s participation in the fight against Daesh and (Al-Qaeda franchise) Al-Nusra Front,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

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