Who decides "which group is a "legitimate opposition"? The answer to that question may hold the key to ending the bloody conflict in Syria.
The U.S. and its Gulf allies and Turkey say that there are "moderate" opposition groups in Syria, but they refuse to identify them by name. Russia has asked, since 2015, who is Syria’s legitimate opposition? That question goes unanswered. But it is certain is that none of those governments who claim that there is a "legitimate opposition", do not and will not tolerate any armed groups to be operating within their countries' borders. In fact, Turkey is bombing a U.S.-vetted moderate, legitimate opposition group, the Kurdish Popular Protection Units, in Syria.
Major powers could help stop the cycle of violence in Syria by defining terrorism, identifying terrorist groups by name, and push for an end to the fighting. Instead, each actor is protecting its interests by continuing to support armed groups, yet claim at the same time that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis.
Russia must stop targeting Syria's legitimate opposition as part of an air campaign in support of the Assad regime before a truce can be implemented next week, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.
"To date, the vast majority of Russia's attacks have been against legitimate opposition groups," Kerry said at the Munich Security Conference. "To adhere to the agreement it made, Russia's targeting must change."