Russia and the United States are to coordinate their fight against the Islamic State through a dedicated center in the Swiss city of Geneva, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.
Military experts from both countries will work
together to decide which groups within Syria should be targeted with
airstrikes, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told
Disagreements over which armed groups should be
designated as “terrorist” have proved to be a significant hurdle
to Russian-U.S. cooperation in Syria. The United States has
repeatedly categorized the Al-Nusra Front as “moderate opposition”
to Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Moscow has labeled the group
A 48-hour ceasefire between Syrian government forces
and opposition groups began at sundown on Sept. 12 in order to
deliver humanitarian aid. The Islamic State is not taking part in the
Ceasefire violations have occurred on both sides,
U.S. State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said Wednesday.
“What we’ve seen in the last 24 hours is a good, substantial
reduction in violence and a period of calm,” he said. “We want to
see that move forward.” He said that it was “Russia’s
responsibility” to pressure regime forces into abiding with the
The U.S. State Department also responded to requests
by Moscow to release documents related to the ceasefire talks.
“We are always working with leaks from these
documents,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova,
told reporters on Thursday. “We want [the documents] released to
avoid misinformation and the misinterpretation of potential leaks.”
“We’re continuing to assess whether we’re going
to release it or whether we might release aspects,” Toner said.
The Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front are terrorist organizations banned in Russia.