Pentagon Spokesman Denies US' Coordination of Airstrikes in Syria With Russia

Miranda GreerJan 24, 2017

The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday that Russian forces conducted an airstrike against ISIS in Syria using coordinates provided by the United States and transmitted through a hotline in the global coalition headquarters.

Adrian J. Rankine-Galloway, said the USA military is not providing targeting information to the Russians or coordinating air operations with them.

"The Defense Department maintains a channel of communication with the Russian military focused exclusively on ensuring the safety of aircrews and de-confliction of coalition and Russian operations in Syria", he added.

A Russian Su-24M fighter and a Su-34 bomber, accompanied by Turkish F-16 and two F-4 jets carried out the attack, Russian officials claim.

Russian Federation and the United States back opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Washington providing backing to some Sunni Muslim rebels.

They successfully took out 22 ISIS targets.

During the more than two years that President Barack Obama directed US military action against IS in Syria, he resisted Russian overtures to coordinate military action.

Spicer also suggested that Trump already has told Defense Secretary James Mattis to change the US approach to fighting the Islamic State.

US military initially refused to provide air support to the Turkish offensive in al Bab, but are now coordinating air operations with Ankara, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Monday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad apparently would not be considered as a partner in the fight against Dash.

But Donald Trump, inaugurated as US president on Friday, has vowed to improve US-Russia relations and align himself more closely with Putin, often lavishing praise on the Russian president. The Pentagon has maintained a hotline with the Russian military to deal with the narrower issue of avoiding air accidents in Syria.

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