Syrian Rebels Blame Russia for Failure to Topple Assad So Far

Fight harder?


Khalid Dayli, a 23-year old fighter with Syria's rebel forces, flicked through the channels on his television, ogling at the scantily clad female singers and dismissing the talents of a Saudi soccer team. But when he reached a news channel reporting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to end the Syrian civil war he sneered. "Without Russian support, we could have toppled (Syrian President Bashar) Al-Assad a year ago," he boasted. "But Putin just won't cut the rope."

Throughout rebel-held territory, Syrians have little faith that Moscow's efforts to end the war, now in its third year, will bear fruit. Many believe Putin is backing Assad merely to spite the United States. Others, however, claim geo-political factors are behind the move. But all seem to have nothing but contempt for Russia and the role it is playing in the Syrian civil war.