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Russian Advisor to UN on Potentials of Russian-U.S. Military Cooperation in Syria

Jan. 31, 2017 (EIRNS)—Vitaky Naumkin, the Russian advisor to UN Special Envoy Steffan de Mistura, told reporters in Moscow yesterday, that he expects that U.S. President Trump will "soon" make a decision on U.S. policy towards Syria, reports Tass. This may or may not happen after a G20 summit or after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Trump "has clearly formulated a bid to cooperate not only with Russia, but also with all who can fight against terrorists." Naumkin noted that at present, however, there is no clarity on the matter, particularly with respect to whether or not such cooperation will include direct engagement with the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Complicating things will be the "serious opposition" that Trump will face from the U.S. Congress.

Naumkin believes, however, that U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria is inevitable.

"I hope that the Russia-U.S. cooperation is inevitable and will occur some time later. Maybe it will concern only Al Bab or only Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor—we will see. I am absolutely sure that this cooperation will inevitably take place if [U.S. President Donald] Trump continues to implement his pre-election promises,"

Naumkin said.

Naumkin also called for a joint effort to liberate Palmyra.

"This requires serious efforts, unification of forces of all actors who are at odds with each other in the vision of Syria’s future, but who should unite efforts to liberate the city and not only the city, but cleanse Syria of terrorist filth,"

he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a joint press conference with the foreign minister of Eritrea yesterday, also discussed the potentials of U.S.-Russian military cooperation where the U.S. and its allies already have special forces on the ground in Syria.

"If our American partners’ capabilities could be coordinated," said Lavrov,

"both the Syrian government’s and all those cooperating with it and the capabilities of the U.S. coalition that would clearly be aimed at fighting against the Islamic State and other terrorists, I believe we would have achieved significant positive changes in attaining anti-terrorist goals."