Russia, US agree to coordinate military operations in Syria
Iran Press TV
Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:36AM
Russia says it has reached an agreement with the US to improve coordination between their military operations in Syria where they are backing opposing sides.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov also rejected on Sunday the Pentagon's accusations that it had deliberately targeted US-backed militants in Syria.
He said Russia is pushing the US to help produce a shared map of the positions of fighting forces to avoid incidents.
The Pentagon said on Saturday it had questioned Moscow over Russian airstrikes conducted against US-backed militants last week.
Konashenkov dismissed the allegation, saying the Russian military had warned the US in advance about the planned strike, but the Pentagon had failed to provide coordinates.
The Russian military, he said, had proposed months ago to share information about locations of various forces involved in military action in Syria but the Pentagon hasn't been forthcoming.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the United States had asked Moscow to stop conducting airstrikes against the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria.
On Thursday, Lavrov said the US was likely seeking to preserve the al-Qaeda-affiliated group as a tool to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia has long insisted that the so-called moderate militants supported by the US in Syria should leave the areas held by Nusra militants.
Speaking on the sidelines of an economic forum in St Petersburg last week, Lavrov cast doubt on US claims of being unable to pull "moderate" militants out of the territories controlled by terrorists.
"I have the impression that some game is being played here and they want perhaps to preserve al-Nusra in some form and then use it to overthrow" the Syrian government, he added.
Russia launched an air campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups last September upon a request by the Damascus government.
On Saturday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Syria to meet Assad and inspect the Hemeimeem air base in Syria's coastal province of Lattakia.
The Defense Ministry said the talks focused on cooperation between the two countries and "some aspects of cooperation in the fight against terrorist groups."
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