No joint US-Russia plan to retake Raqqa

US rejects reports Russia ready to partner with America forces to divide fight in Syria

No joint US-Russia plan to retake Raqqa

World Bulletin / News Desk

There are no U.S.-Russia military plans to retake ISIL's self proclaimed capital of Raqqa and the city of Palmyra, the State Department said Monday.

"At least that I'm aware of, no plans militarily to divvy up the labor in the same with those geographical parameters as suggested by [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov," said State Department spokesman John Kirby. "I've seen no indication that it will [take place]."

Kirby's comments come one day after published reports claimed Russia was prepared to coordinate with the U.S. to retake Raqqa and Palmyra.

"The Americans even suggested to us let’s divide up the labor: you, the Russian air force, concentrate on liberating Palmyra, and we the American coalition will concentrate on liberating Raqqa," Lavrov reportedly said.

Since Russia began airstrikes in Syria at the end of September, the U.S. has demanded Moscow support the US-led coalition and target after ISIL.

Russia has resisted and continued to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, striking Syrian opposition forces.

As negotiations in Geneva restarted Monday in an effort to find a roadmap for a political solution in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprising announcement and ordered a partial pullout of his military from Syria, saying he hoped the move would contribute to a successful outcome of the UN-led talks.

Asked if the U.S. has seen indications that Russians and Syrian forces have modified their strikes after the cessation of hostilities deal took effect, Kirby said Russian aircraft were currently "flying less" in Syria.

"Without a question, we have seen a change in Russian military activity and Russian air operations since the cessation ... they have made an effort to abide by the cessation of hostilities," he said.

The cessation of hostilities deal stipulates that all sides end airstrikes, except against ISIL and al Nusra groups.

But Syrian local sources have claimed that regime forces continue to strike opposition positions despite the agreement.

At least 477 breaches of the deal have been recorded since the cessation of hostilities went into effect, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Last Mod: 15 Mart 2016, 09:04
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