Shortly after Kerry spoke, the Pentagon announced that Defense Secretary Ash Carter had spoken by telephone with Sergei K. Shoigu, the Russian minister of defense.
“This (Syria) crisis has got to be solved”, Kerry said before meeting with the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in London.
“Obviously our focus remains on destroying ISIL (Islamic State) and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria“, he added.
Moscow argues that any military support falls in line with existing defense contracts, but reports have surfaced of secret deployments to Syria, where Moscow has a Soviet-era naval facility and where the Assad regime is battling Islamic State (IS) extremists.
Russia-US military-to-military contacts were stopped in March 2014 after Russian troops’ involvement in the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Carter told his Russian colleague that “defeating ISIL and ensuring a political transition are objectives that need to be pursued at the same time”. Both the secretary and the minister agreed to continue their dialogue.
The West has raised concern over signs of an ongoing Russian military buildup in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia, which Washington says signals Moscow’s intention to set up a forward air base there.
In his call with Lavrov on Tuesday, his third in 10 days, Kerry said he sought clarity about Moscow’s moves and warned that Russian support for Assad “risks exacerbating and extending the conflict”.
The US official told The WSJ that over the past two weeks Russian Federation has dramatically stepped up development of the airfield by “sending in housing for up to 2,000 people, attack helicopters, choppers to transport troops around the country, and artillery”.
He said: “We keep that situation under continuous review and we will continue to talk to our allies about the military situation in the round”.
“The U.S. Senate’s armed services committee on 16 September grilled top Pentagon officials over how they plan to deal with the Syrian regime, an issue Washington is forced to confront with Moscow’s escalating military support for President Bashar al-Assad, the Journal writes”.
In an official statement on Wednesday it was written that Netanyahu “will present the threats on Israel as a result of the increased influx of advanced weaponry to the Syrian theater, and from the flow of lethal weapons to Hezbollah and to other terrorist organizations”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend, too, after skipping last year’s, and the White House is split on whether Obama should meet with him.