US, Russia discuss need to “increase pressure” against ISIS and Nusrain Syria

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin. AP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin for three hours on Thursday, reportedly to discuss the prospect of coordinating militarily in Syria in the future. 

“The two discussed the need to increase pressure on terrorist groups like Daesh [Islamic State] and the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra,” John Kirby, the spokesman for the US State Department, told reporters. 

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, said that military coordination was not discussed during the meeting

“A lot of questions remain regarding real interaction on implementing operation in Syria,” he told reporters.  

The Washington Post has published this proposal which says the US will agree to work with the Russian military in Syria against the Jabhat al-Nusra group provided the Russians tell the Syrian regime to stop bombing certain areas and US-backed groups and pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abide by a future political transition, which would entail him stepping down. 

The US government was very critical of the Russian campaign in Syria since it started late in 2015. It alleged that the Russians were only in Syria to prop up Assad, not confront extremist groups like ISIS. However since March of this year the Russians have begun targeting these groups more when they forced ISIS out of Palmyra in coordination with Syrian ground forces.



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