Lavrov: U.S. Still Not Ready for Combat Coordination with Russia against Terrorists In Syria
May 26, 2016 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after a meeting with representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in Moscow, reported that talks with the United States on coordination of military actions in Syria are going slower than Russia would like, and that Washington is not ready for real coordination with Russian forces. Lavrov noted that the United States has already moved from coordinating on flight safety to information exchange, "but they are not ready yet for real combat coordination."
He went on to say that the GCC states agree that there should be joint action between the United States and Russia against the terrorist groups.
"We’re unanimous that the threat of terrorism and extremism requires uncompromising counteraction to prevent the triumph of the plans nurtured by the IS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and similar groupings,"
he said. Lavrov added that
"the participants in the session welcomed creation of an Islamic coalition by Saudi Arabia and came out in favor of stronger coordinated action of Russia and the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against terrorism in Syria,"
The toughest part still seems to be getting the United States to separate the so-called moderate armed groups from Al Nusra.
"Back in February this year, U.S. colleagues promised us in the framework of ISSG (International Syria Support Group) and via other channels that they will soon achieve through their representatives the separation on the ground between patriotic opposition and Jebhat al-Nusra,"
Lavrov said. "This has not happened so far despite the fact that the regime of cessation of hostilities came into force three months ago."
While the United States refuses to cooperate militarily with Russia against terrorist groups, the Russians estimate that they have taken out a third of the fighting force of Al Nusra and ISIS in Syria since their air campaign began on Sept. 30. Evgeny Lukyanov, the deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, told an international security meeting in Grozny that Russian forces and the Syrian army have eliminated 28,000 militants from the battlefield, or a third of the 80,000 there were estimated to be on Sept. 30. At the same time, the United States has only killed 5,000 in two years. The principle task of the Russian operation in Syria has been to force the sides to start a political dialogue, Lukyanov said. "Otherwise this [war] would have no end in sight."