Putin, Obama to ‘intensify’ coordination in Syria: Kremlin
MOSCOW – Agence France-PresseRussian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed during a telephone call July 6 to “intensify” military coordination between their two countries in Syria, the Kremlin said.
“The two parties have confirmed their desire to intensify coordination between the Russian and American militaries in Syria,” it said.
Putin also called on Obama to help aid the separation of moderate opposition groups from “terrorist groups like the al-Nusra Front,” it said.
In a separate statement, the White House reported that the leaders had “confirmed their commitment to defeating ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and the al-Nusra Front.”
Obama also stressed “the necessity for progress on a genuine political transition to end the conflict in Syria, as well as sustained humanitarian access.”
Both leaders stressed the importance of restarting U.N.-sponsored Syria peace talks after two rounds of negotiations held in Geneva since the start of the year ended without progress, the Kremlin said.
Russia and the United States have already been cooperating in Syria with Moscow calling for “decisive joint action against al-Nusra” in June.
Russia proposed joint air strikes with the U.S. against jihadist targets in Syria in May, a proposal that was rejected immediately by Washington.
U.S. officials said June 30 that the Obama administration was considering a plan to coordinate air strikes with Russia on the al-Nusra Front and ISIL if Damascus stops bombing moderate rebels.
In a multi-pronged offensive, Syrian government and allied troops pushed into an area north of Aleppo city on July 7, threatening a key rebel supply line and setting off intense clashes despite a day-old truce, pro-government fighters and opposition activists said.
Fierce fighting also broke out in the eastern and southern suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus, activists and rebel fighters reported.
Putin also informed Obama about the results of his talks with Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, which were intended to help stabilize the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, the Kremlin said. The White House said Obama expressed his readiness to intensify efforts together with Russia and with France, as co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, to achieve a comprehensive settlement to the conflict.