US Secretary of State John Kerry took a proposal to boost military and intelligence cooperation against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria to Moscow on Thursday, despite doubts among US defence and intelligence officials.
US officials described the visit as a test of Moscow’s willingness to use its influence on the Syrian government to help revive the country’s peace process, and time was running out for that.
Kerry met President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Thursday evening and both said before the meeting they hoped they could make progress on Syria. Kerry was also to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday.
Putin said his last conversation with US President Barack Obama had convinced him that both sides were sincere in the efforts to find a solution in Syria.
“I hope after today’s consultations you’ll be able to advise him of the progress made and possible headway for us to make,” he told Kerry, according to a pool reporter at the start of the talks.
Kerry said Obama thought his last call with Putin was “constructive.”
“Hopefully we’ll be able to make some genuine progress that is measurable and implementable and that can make a difference in the course of events in Syria,” Kerry said.
The extent of coordination with Russia proposed by Kerry and set out in a leaked US document published by the Washington Post would represent a major shift after years of rivalry between Washington and Moscow, who support opposing sides in Syria’s five-year civil war.
The document called for intelligence sharing to identify leadership targets, training camps, supply lines and headquarters of the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
Strikes against those targets could be carried out by US or Russian jets and expanded coordination would be channeled through a Joint Implementation Group based in the vicinity of the Jordanian capital Amman.
The United States and Russia would establish separate headquarters and a shared coordination office, where they would deploy senior officials, intelligence personnel and experts in strike planning and targeting.
They would decide on a date to simultaneously begin strikes against Nusra Front targets and to stop all Syrian military air activities in designated areas, except for non-combat purposes and against areas where Nusra Front has acquired territory.
The proposal also allows for Russia to use air power to defend Syrian forces from attack from Nusra Front within a designated area, if agreed in advance with the United States.
Kerry declined to comment when asked about the document before leaving for Moscow.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر