U.S.-Russian Military Coordination In Syria?
Jan. 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Trump Administration, yesterday, indicated openness to cooperating with Russia "or anyone else" to fight ISIS in Syria, reports Associated Press. "I think if there’s a way that we can combat ISIS with any country, whether it’s Russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we’ll take it," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. He was not ready to go so far as to suggest such cooperation with Assad, however.
Spicer also suggested that Trump already has told Defense Secretary James Mattis to change the U.S. approach to fighting the Islamic State. "I think he has ordered it," Spicer said, adding that Trump would discuss the matter with Mattis during a visit to the Pentagon on Friday. "At that time, he will continue to have conversations about what he wants from them and the joint chiefs."
In an air strike announcement, yesterday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that such cooperation is already underway. Tass reports that according to the statement, on Jan. 22, 2017, the command of the Russian Hmeymim, Syria-based aerospace group received from the U.S.-led military command information on the location of ISIS targets in Al Bab.
the ministry said.
This supposed operation followed by a day another joint operation between the Russian and Turkish air forces against ISIS in Al Bab.
The Pentagon wasted no time denying the Russian assertion. "The Department of Defense is not coordinating airstrikes with the Russian military in Syria," Eric Pahon, a spokesman at the Pentagon, told Defense News.
Other officials reportedly called the Russian claim propaganda and even "rubbish."
Igor Korotchenko, a prominent defense analyst in Moscow, said there are probably a couple of reasons behind the Pentagon denials. "We consider information released by the Russian Defense Ministry to be highly accurate," he told told RIA Novosti.
in this respect, Korotchenko noted.