Russia Calls on US to Coordinate Strikes in Syria

The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday called on the US to coordinate joint airstrikes against Syrian rebels who are not taking part in the brokered ceasefire, prompting the Pentagon to reiterate that it does not coordinate with Russia on any military activity. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during a state television-broadcasted meeting that it proposed the strikes, which would begin on May 25 in coordination with the Syrian government, on rebels that include the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, according to Reuters. Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said during a Friday briefing that the US does not coordinate any of its military activities with Russia, except for regular communications meant to deconflict airspace. Russia’s activity has long-been focused on bolstering Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the US is only focused on defeating ISIS. However, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said recently Russia seems to have shifted its focus and is now predominantly striking ISIS. While there has been some overlap, such as the fight over the village of Palmyra, the US will not coordinate its strikes with anyone outside the coalition. This isn’t the first time Russia has sought US help. Early on in its intervention in Syria it requested the US provide combat search and rescue capability, a request that was denied.