Russia Says it
Will Join Forces With Syria, Rebel Groups to Fight
By Ed Adamczyk
January 25, 2017 "Information
Shifting alliances have led to plans for a unified
attack on the Islamic State, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
"The Syrian government, the Russian Aerospace Forces and
armed opposition groups are essentially ready to pool
efforts and carry out strikes against IS positions in
Syria's regions that are still under their control,"
Lavrov told the State Duma, Russia's parliament, on
came after he arrived in Moscow from Astana, Kazakhstan,
where two days of talks, brokered by the United Nations,
rearranged alliances and commitments to finding a
peace process for Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran
agreed to an outline for a Syrian cease-fire and
committed the three countries to jointly fight IS and
its affiliates. Syrian government representatives and
diplomatic agents of rebel groups at the talks were not
parties to the agreement, indicating that the fate of
Syria's peace plans are in the
hands of foreign countries.
The changes in
the diplomatic landscape indicate the Syrian military
and anti-government rebels are now on the same side,
fighting to defeat IS. Russia and Iran, the foremost
protectors of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Turkey, the rebels'
leading supplier of arms, also seem to be working
States was not involved in the talks, but a State
Department statement said it welcomed any "actions that
sustainably de-escalate and reduce suffering in Syria."
The statement insisted that any political settlement
must be made under U.N. auspices and under a peace
process mandated by the U.N. Security Council.
Syrian civil war has killed 500,000 people and prompted
mass emigration, largely to Europe. Both the government
and rebel sides are tired, out of funding and totally
dependent on extra-national backers. Under the terms of
the Astana agreement, Russia, Turkey and Iran will
jointly enforce the cease-fire and fight IS forces
remaining in Syria.
A report Monday
that the United States and Russia collaborated on
airstrikes against an IS target in Syria
was denied by the State Department. The Russian
defense ministry said it received coordinates for the
airstrike on a U.S.-Russian communications channel, and
that Russia undertook the strike with U.S.-led coalition
of Defense is not coordinating airstrikes with the
Russian military in Syria," Pentagon spokesman Eric
expressed in this article are solely those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of
Information Clearing House.