Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Russia seeks broader co-op with US-led coalition in Syria

Russian military is willing to expand cooperation with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Tuesday.

"We are firmly convinced that no country is able to cope with the common threat of terrorism alone, no matter how strong the United States, Britain, Germany and NATO are. That is why we are in favor of broader international cooperation," Antonov said according to a Defense Ministry meeting transcript.

Russia is ready to share specific reconnaissance data about Islamic State (IS) positions and activities with the anti-IS coalition, he added.

According to Antonov, defense ministries of Russia and the U.S. were working on a document on cooperation in air operations against the IS terrorist group.

He said that in the next few days there would be another video conference between Russian and U.S. military, as the first was held Thursday following the start of Russian air strikes against IS facilities.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the communication channels have been restored with the United States between defense ministries and defense agencies.

  • Antonov said the Defense Ministry was ready to establish different types of working groups with any interested country to prevent new problems similar to the Russian aircraft's violation of Turkish airspace.

Russian ambassador to Turkey was summoned twice as Ankara claimed Turkish airspace was violated on both Saturday and Sunday.

  • Meanwhile, Antonov denied that Russian air force carried strikes against civilian targets as pilots in Syria were using intelligence data gained through satellites and drones, not only information provided by Syrian partners.

"We are checking intelligence more than once. Decisions, which are then taken, are carefully balanced and meticulously calculated. And we deal a blow only when we are 100 percent sure that we do not miss the target," he said.

He noted that evidence showed terrorists in Syria were hiding in mosques because "they are well aware that we will under no circumstances strike non-military targets."

Zakharova said it is "pure propaganda" that Russia was blamed for the death of Syrian civilians, while calling on Western countries to be responsible for their words and to "solidify their words with concrete material."

The spokeswoman reiterated that Russia chose not to join the U.S.-led coalition because it is "inconsistent with international law."

 Xinhua -

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