BEIRUT - A prominent Syrian rebel commander said on Thursday that Russian air strikes in support of President Bashar Assad would make the four-year-long war go on even longer and urged Arab states to provide rebels with anti-aircraft weapons.
"These air strikes will extend the life of the war as a first step," said Bashar al-Zoubi, who commands one of the largest mainstream rebel groups fighting in southern Syria under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army" (FSA).
"As a second step, they will spread extremism, because when the war becomes a global one against the Syrian people, it will not retreat from its goals, and there will be fertile ground to attract foreign fighters to fight the Russians," said Zoubi, head of the Yarmouk Army, which is part of the FSA.
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