Russia and the United States will coordinate their military action against Islamic State radicals in Syria in order to avoid any conflicts in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a Wednesday meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
According to Lavrov, Russian and US forces will “get in touch” “very soon” in order to “avoid unintended incidents” in Syria.
The United States has been conducting airstrikes in Syria within the framework of international coalition efforts aimed at defeating Islamic State radicals that have ceased vast areas in Syria and Iraq.
Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously approved the use of the Russian forces to provide air support to the Syrian Army in its fight against extremist groups including ISIL on Wednesday.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama discussed the Syrian issue on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. According to a White House official, the two leaders agreed that Russian and US militaries should maintain constant contact in what concerns Syria in order to avoid any conflicts between them.
Lavrov stressed on Wednesday that while Russian military action in Syria is being conducted at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad and is thus in line with the UN charter, US-led coalition strikes are being carried out without the approval of Damascus or the UN Security Council.
The Russian foreign minister admitted after his Wednesday meeting with Kerry that disagreements remain between the United States and Russia on the Syrian issue.
“We all want Syria democratic, united,” Lavrov told journalists, saying that both Russia and the United States are interested in “promoting political process” in Syria, which has been struggling with extremists amid an ongoing civil war.
The Russian foreign minister added, however, that the United States and Russia “have differences on some details on how to get there,” but the talks between Lavrov and Kerry provided a useful occasion to promote “constructive and safe approaches to the situation in Syria and around it.”
Russia and the United States have different positions regarding Syria’s government. Moscow has been supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad with Russian President Vladimir Putin having stressed that ISIL radicals can only be defeated if Syria’s legitimate government is kept strong. The United States has been calling for Assad to step down and has been supporting the so-called “moderate” opposition in Syria.