US military is very skeptical about the possibility of cooperation with Russia on Syria.
Commander of the US operation in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, said that he is very skeptical about the possibility of cooperation with Russia, and his opinion is shared by many US military, the Voice of America broadcasting service reported.
They do not like the fact that Russia supports the government of Bashar al-Assad in the fight against pro-American ‘moderate’ opposition, as well as the fact that the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) has gotten a new stage field on the Hamadan airbase in Iran.
“As a soldier, I am pretty skeptical about Russians,” Townsend said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press news agency. “I do not know how far I am inclined to believe that we can cooperate with them.”
The Townsend’s statement reflects reluctance of many US military to work closely with Moscow in Syria. The main reason of this is the fact that Russia is on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, who fights against the US-backed rebels.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, spokesman for the White House, Josh Earnest, noted that Russia’s support for the Syrian regime, which is carrying out indiscriminate bombing, ‘only aggravates’ the situation.
“We find it hard to believe that Russia has a clear strategy for dealing with extremists – at the moment the most part of its strategy relies on support of those activities that fuel the extremism,” Earnest said.
On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that he hopes for a speedy completion of the US-Russian talks on Syria. He noted that a week remained for discussion of the details, after which he can again meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said that Russian military continue to use the Hamadan Iranian airbase. “The flights are not suspended. Iran continues to cooperate with Russia in the fight against terrorism,” Ali Larijani said.
At the same time, he noted that base is not provided to Russia permanently. Earlier, media reported that Russians allegedly wanted to use the airbase not only as ‘a stage field’, but also as a full-fledged military facility with deployment there of the respective arsenals, but this did not suit the Iranian side.
Earlier, the US called on Russia and Syria not carry out military operations in districts of Syria, where there are coalition forces. According to American political analyst Scott Bennet, the US threat to shoot down Russian and Syrian warplanes is a declaration of war against these countries.
“Essentially, what that says is ‘it’s war already, and now the Syrians and the Russians have a choice. The choice is always quite simple: the Syrian government’s obligation is to protect its people, and protect its land from invaders,” he said.
“And in this act, the United States is invading Syria. It is fostering a war; it’s paying for the mercenaries; it is using Saudi Arabian Wahhabists to invade Syria; and create chaos as well some of the Kurdish elements,” the analyst noted.