The U.S. Defense Department has rejected Russia’s proposal of conducting joint airstrikes against ISIS terrorists in Syria from next week.
“We do not collaborate or coordinate with the Russians on any operations in Syria,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters on Friday, explaining that Washington and Moscow have separate military objectives.
Press TV reports:
Davis said that the US and Russia are pursuing separate military objectives, claiming that “Russian operations are supporting and enabling the (Bashar al-) Assad regime and our focus is solely on degrading and defeating ISIL.”
Since September 30, 2015, Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria at the Syrian government’s request.
The strikes have killed hundreds of Daesh terrorists and other foreign-backed militants and inflicted heavy material damage on them.
Since September 20014, the US and its allies have also been carrying out airstrikes in Syria purportedly against Daesh positions. However, the Syrian government has charged that the airstrikes had targeted the country’s infrastructure in many instances and done little to stop the advances of terrorists.
Earlier on Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the two countries should carry out joint airstrikes against Jabhat al-Nusra and other armed groups that do not support a truce reached by Moscow and Washington to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the conflict.
Shoigu also called for joint strikes to be conducted against “convoys containing weapons and ammunition, armed units that illegally cross the Syrian-Turkish border.”
He said that such operations would begin as of May 25 and be coordinated with the Syrian government.
“We believe the adoption of these measures will allow a transition to a peaceful process to be achieved in the entire territory of Syria,” he said. “Of course, these measures have been coordinated with the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Davis said Moscow had not made a formal proposal to the United States. “I’ve only seen the same press reports you have — nothing formal has been presented to us.”
The Syria truce, which went into effect late February and excludes Daesh militants and al-Nusra Front, is still officially in place in many parts of Syria despite surging violence in Aleppo.
Last week, top diplomats from 17 nations resumed Vienna talks on the Syria conflict, hoping to reinvigorate a peace effort that has effectively collapsed.