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Kerry: US plans military talks with Russia over Syria
The Defense Department described the conversation as constructive, noting that Carter and Shoygu discussed areas where the USA and Russia’s perspectives overlap and areas of divergence.
Up to now, Secretary of State John Kerry has led talks with Moscow to express Washington’s concern about Russia’s mobilizations and to line up both governments with a unified Syrian strategy.
However, with USA aircraft also operating in the country as America roots out ISIS, it is important that the two powers coordinate their military presence to avoid accidental encounters.
The strikes could not be confirmed, but the USA embassy in Syria on its Twitter account that “The Assad regime’s brutal attacks on #Syria’s cities continue to kill innocent Syrians and destroy schools, mosques, markets, and hospitals”.
United States officials claim Russian Federation has sent at least four fighter jets to Syria as it continues to bolster the embattled forces of Bashar al Assad.
Washington and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies broke off ties with the Russian military in April past year in protest at Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.
“He noted that defeating (Islamic State militants) and ensuring a political transition are objectives that need to be pursued at the same time”, the Pentagon said.
Shoigu said Russia’s military moves “were designed to honor commitments made to the Syrian government”, the US official said.
An intelligence official called the Russian buildup in Syria “significant” and said it would represent “the first major expeditionary force deployment” outside the former Soviet space that Moscow has undertaken since the war in Afghanistan.
Kerry also said he had spoken on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who office announced earlier that he would visit Moscow next week to discuss Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia has positioned seven T-90 tanks and artillery at an airfield near the Assad stronghold of Latakia, with some 200 Russian naval infantry soldiers sent to the airfield along with temporary housing units, a portable air traffic control station and components of an air defence system, Reuters reported.
“We’re looking for ways in which to find a common ground”, Kerry said.
Mr Assad on Thursday blamed the West’s support of “terrorists” for the four-year-old domestic war that has seen about half of his country’s population seek refuge elsewhere.
He said Lavrov had told him Russian Federation was interested only in confronting the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Syria but “I am not taking that at face value”.