Russia, US to Hold Talks on Coordinating Airstrikes in Syria

World | October 1, 2015, Thursday // 10:01|  views

Flanked by security, Russian Foreign Mininster Sergey Lavrov (C-L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (C-R) are seen leaving an impromptu joint press conference on the situation in Syria outside of the Security Council chamber during the 70th session of

Russia and the US will hold talks “as soon as possible” in order to avoid clashing in Syria after Moscow launched airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) targets on Wednesday.

This became clear after a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry.

Lavrov pointed to the need to establish channels of communication in order to avoid unintended incidents, while Kerry said that such talks will take place possibly on Thursday, the BBC informs informs.

According to Russian defence officials, their aircraft conducted about twenty missions against IS after the Russian Federation Council had authorised the use of military force in Syria earlier on Wednesday.

However the US has expressed concern that the targets are not only IS, but also other opponents of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia.

NATO stated that there has been little coordination between Russian and the US-led coalition against IS, while the US said that it was informed of the Russian airstrikes only an hour before being launched.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal report that rebels supported by the US have been targeted by the Russian airstrikes.

The Russian defence ministry assured that the country's air forces had targeted IS military equipment, communication centers, motor vehicles, arms depots, ammunition and fuel supplies without affecting any civilian infrastructure or areas

Activists of the Syrian opposition claim that Russian airstrikes hit towns, such as Zafaraneh, Rastan and Talbiseh, which are in areas not controlled by the IS.

According to them, this has resulted in the death of 36 civilians including children.

The US is not opposed to Russian military action in Syria as long as it is targeted against IS and groups linked to al-Qaeda.

In a televised address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the airstrikes were targeting Islamic militants.

Putin added that he expected President Assad to hold talks with “healthy” opposition groups about a political settlement.

Following his meeting with Kerry, Lavrov said that Russia and the US agree on the objectives of the settlement in Syria, but disagree on the means of achieving them.

He reaffirmed that the airstrikes were “surgical” and targeted only positions of IS and there were no information on civilian casualties, TASS news agency quotes him as saying.

Lavrov insisted that the fate of President Assad should be determined by the Syrians themselves and that Russia was not seeking change of regime in Damascus.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter hurled criticism at Russia for targeting some of the opposition groups which are part of the political resolution in Syria.

Moscow and Washington continue to disagree on the future role of Assad in Syria with Russia being in support of his inclusion in the political settlement, while the US is in favour of ousting him.

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Tags: Syria, Russia, US, IS, airstrikes, Sergey Lavrov, John Kerry, Vladimir Putin, opposition, Ashton Carter, Bashar Al-Assad


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