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Kerry: U.S. and Russia Have Understanding of Where We’re Going in Syria

July 20, 2016 (EIRNS)—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone yesterday, on Syria. Kerry said afterwards that

"We both believe that we have an understanding of the direction we are going in and what needs to be achieved, and our teams will meet shortly and we are going to continue to do that in order to bolster the cessation of hostilities and in order to increase our capacity to fight back against al Qaeda, which is Nusra, as well as fight back against ISIL."

Kerry was in London yesterday, where he met with some of his European counterparts, including Britain’s new Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, to update them on Syria "and the concrete steps that the U.S. and Russia are planning to take" there. The Russian Foreign Ministry, for its part, reported that Kerry and Lavrov had

"discussed concrete steps of Russia and the United States to assist the Syrian settlement efforts and suppress the terrorist groups in the country, pursuant to the agreements reached during the U.S. State Secretary’s recent visit to Moscow."

Washington post columnist David Ignatius, in a column posted yesterday, reports that Jabhat al Nusra, which, as Kerry indicated, is the target of possible U.S.-Russian military cooperation, is, despite having embedded itself deep into the Syrian opposition against Assad, still Al Qaeda.

"[T]he global jihadist ambitions of Osama bin Laden remain part of Jabhat al-Nusras DNA," Ignatius writes.

"U.S. officials report increasing evidence that the group is plotting external operations against Europe and the United States. Its operatives are said to have tried recently to infiltrate Syrian refugee communities in Europe."

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