Bunkered down in his base just north of Hama, Captain Mustafa of the Free Syria Army (FSA) is getting used to the Russian airstrikes. And he is growing just as accustomed to the assurances of his American backers: “We can have most of the weapons we want,” he says. “But nothing to shoot down the planes.”
More than a week since the Russian strikes began targeting them, and days after the US announced an end to its efforts to train forces to fight Isis, the original anti-Assad rebels of Syria’s north-west remain entrenched, though battered, in the towns and villages of their heartland.
Did they really think the Russians would leave them be?