A prominent Syrian rebel leader said on Thursday that Russian air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad meant the war would go on longer, fuel extremism, and draw more foreign fighters to Syria.

Bashar al-Zoubi, who heads one of the largest rebel groups in southern Syria, called on Assad’s Arab foes to meet the rebels’ long-standing demand for anti-aircraft missiles so they could defend themselves from the newly arrived Russian jets.

He also said that even Russian air power could not settle the four-year-long war on Assad’s terms, and said Moscow ran the risk of another Afghanistan in Syria – a reference to the Soviet Union’s defeat there in the 1980s. […]