Shoigu Delivers Putin’s Latest Syria Flank
May 20, 2016 (EIRNS)—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu today called on the United States to join with the Russian and Syrian air forces in conducting joint bombing operations against the Islamic State and Nusra Front—starting in five days, May 25. The Shoigu proposal included joint operations against weapons caravans crossing into Syria from Turkey.
Shoigu added that Russia would begin unilateral attacks on ISIS and Nusra positions beginning May 25, and called on the United States and other coalition states to make sure that rebel factions adhering to the cease-fire distanced themselves from ISIS and Nusra positions, which will be facing relentless attacks.
While a formal statement was issued by a Pentagon spokesman, rejecting the proposed joint operations, the United States and Russia have recently created a joint monitoring center in Geneva, to respond in real-time to violations of the ceasefire, and there has been increasing coordination between U.S. and Russian forces in northern Syria, under the rubric of deconfliction.
The Shoigu offer came the same day that Sputnik News reported that Kurdish forces were preparing to launch an all-out assault on the ISIS capital of Raqqa, and that U.S. war planes were dropping leaflets over Raqqa urging all civilians to leave.