'Russia's campaign against terrorists in Syria inciting retaliation'
There can be no negotiation with ISIS because their intent is just to invade and continue their violence, says Catherine Shakdam, from the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in London.
Twenty-three people were killed and at least 65 injured on Monday in the Syrian city of Latakia after militants fired mortars near a university and a bus stop.
RT: The suggestion from Syria is that the Al-Nusra Front carried out this attack. Is that what you think?
Catherine Shakdam: There is a possibility, of course. Militants have received immense aid over the past few months, the so-called moderates... And I think that Russia’s intervention in Syria and the systematic targeting of radicals’ bases and ability to carry out such attacks have been damaged and therefore they are trying to retaliate. I think that the main idea that needs to be taken from this is that they are targeting again a religious minority, and they are targeting the Alawites who are mainly supporters of President Bashar Assad in Syria.
That means to me that we have now radicals going after Assad’s political support system and then trying to use civilians to do that. Now what I found very interesting is that it comes at such a time when Washington is increasingly calling for the deposition of Assad and trying to see how they can angle their intervention in Syria to target Damascus and the central government. I find it very critical and very interesting to see that in [yesterday’s] attack is in essence achieving just that.
RT: How big a threat is Al-Nusra in the region? How does it compare to ISIL?
CS: A lot of the time people tend to say that there are less radical among the radicals in that they are less bloody and bloodthirsty. ISIS has a liking for a grand display of violence, beheadings and such. I think that Al-Nusra is a bit different in that radicals stay radicals - the ideology that they are basing their ideology upon is violence… based on hatred and ignorance.