Moscow insists on direct dialogue between Damascus and the Pentagon.
Russia is ready to coordinate strikes on targets with the US everywhere in Syria, except the province of Aleppo because only the Syrian Air Force operates in this area, and the issue should be discussed with the Syrian government, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing to a source, informed on the progress of the last week’s negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.
Experts believe that Moscow and Washington will be able to find an ‘acceptable formula of interaction,’ and Russia may become a mediator between the US and the Syrian authorities.
“The US sent Russia a package of proposals on the coordination of air operations, primarily, in the province of Aleppo. However, Moscow made it clear that the Russian Aerospace Forces do not bomb Aleppo and its neighborhood, and the US need to negotiate with the command of the Syrian Air Force to coordinate airstrikes on targets there,” the source told Izvestiya.
He also added that Russia has no objection to the idea of coordinated airstrikes, but only outside the area of a few tens of kilometers around Aleppo.
Earlier, media reported that during the talks in Geneva, Lavrov and Kerry discussed a “possibility of starting to apply coordinated airstrikes against terrorists in Aleppo from mid-September.”
Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, Fedor Lukyanov, noted that the US would not contact directly with Bashar al-Assad’s government, but this problem may be solved through Russian mediation.
“The problem is how to formalize the cooperation because the US is ready to cooperate with Syrians, but at the same time the country is not going to depart from its position of official non-recognition of Assad. Therefore, compromise schemes are necessary,” Lukyanov told Izvestiya.
At the same time, the expert pointed out that an atmosphere of total distrust between Russia and the West would not allow to agree on joint combat operations. For this reason, the cooperation of Russian and American military may be only limited.