The Pentagon said Carter and Sergei Shoygu discussed Syria and “areas where the United States and Russia’s perspectives overlap and areas of divergence”.
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.
Kerry had previously warned the Kremlin over its alleged military build-up on behalf of Assad, who the U.S. opposes, saying the move “could further escalate the conflict”, and runs the risk of direct confrontation with United States drones and fighter jets purportedly striking ISIL positions in northern Syria.
Russian Federation supports the Assad government, while the United States supports the insurgents fighting him in a bloody four-year civil war.
The cooperation was suspended last April due to the situation in Ukraine as well, but after almost a year the need “to avoid misunderstandings between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russia” outweighed the discord.
Carter emphasized the importance of pursuing consultations on defeating ISIS in parallel with diplomatic talks about a political transition in Syria, arguing both need to be pursued at the same time.
Secretary of State John Kerry has said he is considering acceptance of an offer for USA and Russian military leaders to discuss Moscow’s new assistance program for Syria.
Assad said Turkish support had been crucial to the growth of two of the biggest insurgent groups in Syria, Islamic State and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and aerial bombing by a U.S.-led coalition had failed to stop Islamic State.
The strikes could not be confirmed, but the US 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”.
“From the very beginning of the conflict Russian Federation has been timely providing assistance to Syria”, he said, according to TASS, and “admitted that Russia’s firm stance has had an increasing influence on the Western countries’ approaches to the Syrian crisis“. The US said Russian Federation has ferried equipment, supplies and military personnel to Syria with the goal of setting up an air base near the coastal town of Latakia, a stronghold of the Syrian president.
Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that “the course of the conversation has shown that the sides’ opinions on the majority of issues under consideration are close or coincide”.
He played down proposals for a peace initiative that Assad ally Iran has said it presented to Syrian officials.