Russian, US Relationship In Syria Remains Complicated

With Russia’s increased involvement in the war in Syria, an already tense relationship between President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama has become more complicated. However, some analysts believe that an opportunity to cooperate exists between the two nations despite Washington’s assertion that there will be no joint efforts.

As Russia unveiled plans to increase their bombing missions in Syria to upwards of 300 per day, Luay Al-Khatteeb and Abbas Kadhim of the Brookings Institution argue against any inclination by the US to try to lessen or halt Russia’s involvement.

They believe that the low standing in the Middle East and the large number who doubt American claims that we are in the region to combat ISIS makes opposition to Russia a dangerous game. Conversely, the US cannot endorse the Russian missions because that would be a tacit approval and effective endorsement of Syrian dictator Bashir al Assad.

“There is another option: the United States and Europe should reject all calls to pour more fuel on the fire. Instead, they should work with Russia, and Iran, and Turkey to cut the flow of weapons into Syria,” the pair write in Foreign Affairs. Russia is offering the US “far broader cooperation” than merely the coordination of air strikes in order to fight Islamic State in Syria, but Washington is not ready to accept it, the Russian Defense Ministry has stated.

“We are holding talks with our American partners on concluding an agreement on ensuring the safety of flights over Syria. But that’s not enough. We are offering far broader cooperation that Washington is not ready for yet,” Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
The US and Russia reached a deal on coordinating their passage through Syria’s airspace, and agreed to “sign documents on safety in Syrian skies,” the Russian military said in a statement.
However, Bloomberg News reported today that Russian officials have admitted that their broader goal is not to contain ISIS, but to return land seized by the terrorist group to Syrian President Assad.
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