Russia has ‘agreed’ with US on Syria strategy

Russia said it had agreed with the US on the need to improve co-ordination between their military operations in Syria. They are backing opposing sides of a civil war and launching air strikes.

Moscow’s intervention on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, alongside Western backing for rebel groups and attacks on IS targets, has raised the risk of a wider international confrontation in the war.

Russia’s defence ministry said military officials from both countries had agreed on the need to improve co-ordination.

There was no immediate confirmation from Washington.

The announcement came a day after the Pentagon said it had questioned Moscow over Russian air strikes against US-backed Syrian opposition forces last week, saying Moscow had failed to heed US warnings.

A spokesman for Russia’s defence ministry, Igor Konashenkov, dismissed the allegation, saying the Russian strikes had hit about 300km away from territory where the US had said opposition forces were operating.

He said Russia had notified the US-led coalition about the targets it was planning to strike.

“The Russian defence ministry, for the past few months, has been proposing to its American colleagues to draw a unified map, which would contain information about the location of the forces which were active in Syria. However, no material progress has been made on this issue,” Konashenkov said.

Russia, which has been bombing opposition-held areas, is blamed by the opposition and rights activists for causing hundreds of civilian deaths and for targeting hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.

Activists say these are indiscriminate attacks. Moscow has dismissed the allegations.


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