Pentagon officials say the Kremlin may be planning to turn the airfield near Latakia into a major hub that could be used not only to funnel military supplies to Assad but to give Moscow a bigger military foothold in the Middle East, The New York Times reports.
On Friday, Gen. Sergei Smirnov, deputy chief of the FSB intelligence agency, said Russia now has information that 2,400 Russian nationals have joined the Islamic State.
Assad, according to a transcript made available Wednesday, said refugees were leaving Syria “mainly because of the terrorists and because of the killing, and second because of the results of terrorism“.
KELEMEN: He says the US and its partners could bring down a Syrian helicopter or two or create any aerial exclusion zone in the north. Ambassador Power was asked about that possibility of a no-fly zone at a lunch organized by the Christian Science Monitor this week.
The “detailed” discussion that lasted over an hour revealed that Moscow’s and Washington’s views “are close or coincide” on most of the issues considered, Konashenkov added. “Both the secretary and the minister agreed to continue their dialogue”.
“He noted that defeating (Islamic State militants) and ensuring a political transition are objectives that need to be pursued at the same time”, he said.
It’s not clear if Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or other USA military leaders will also reach out to their counterparts.
“You have to have a conversation in order to do that”, Kerry said previously. “Is Russian Federation prepared to bring him to the table?”
“We want to avoid miscalculation”. But Kerry stressed that that remained unclear.
“The weapons are highly effective and very accurate, and hit targets precisely”, the source said in response to a question about Russian support. “I am not taking that at face value”.
“Obviously our focus remains on destroying ISIL (Islamic State) and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria“, he added.
One United States official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that four tactical Russian fighter jets have now been sent to Syria.
Ahead of the meeting Mr Kerry said Russian Federation and America “share the same goals” in the battle against the extremists.
The Cold War foes have a common enemy in IS, also known as ISIL, in Syria – but the U.S. opposes Russia’s support of Mr Assad.