The U.S. admits that the upcoming Aleppo offensive by the Syrian government and its allies is designed to hit al-Qaeda and associated terrorist forces and not primarily the “moderate” unicorns the U.S. propaganda blushes about. But the openly U.S. supported forces will also be hit as they are very much integrated with al-Qaeda. The U.S. has for long considered al-Qaeda a secret ally in its attempt to destroy the Syrian state. The French magazine L’Orient Le Jour sees the U.S. relation with al-Qaeda in Syria as part of the attrition strategy the U.S. is waging against Syria (and Russia).
Secretary of State Kerry tried to convince the Russian that al-Qaeda should not be attacked during the cessation of hostilities. But the Russian’s did not agree. Al Qaeda is a UN recognized international terrorist organization which, under UNSC resolutions, must be fought. The U.S. only succeeded in downgrading the permanent ceasefire the Russians had preferred to into a temporary cessation hostilities. It thought to use the time to rearm and to regroup its proxy forces.
But then thing went wrong. An offensive along the Turkish border to push away the Islamic State and to seal the border between the Islamic State and Turkey failed. Al-Qaeda convinced other groups, including directly U.S. supported CIA assets, to prematurely attack Syrian government forces south of Aleppo on Tal el-Eis. The attack mad only little progress before it was stopped.