Washington will not share intelligence data on Islamic State positions in Syria and will not accept Moscow’s offer to cooperate on rooting out terrorism until Moscow changes its position on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future, the Pentagon said.
Ever since the start of the Russian campaign in Syria in late September, Moscow has been offering to share information with the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), urging Washington to reciprocate. After months of extensive diplomatic efforts by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, and the Kremlin, the Pentagon is still refusing to enter the proposed cooperation.
“We are not going to cooperate with Russia on Syria until they change their strategy of supporting Assad and instead focus on ISIL,” US Defense Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told Sputnik on Friday.
Moscow has persistently insisted throughout the course of the Syrian conflict that it is only up to the Syrian people to decide who governs them. Russia has repeatedly spoken out against foreign intervention in the domestic affairs of any country, including Syria.
The Kremlin has also made it clear that the government forces of Bashar Assad are the main fighting force against IS on the ground. Since September 30, Russian forces have been helping the Syrian army recapture the territories controlled by IS and other terrorist and jihadi groups.
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