No plans to coordinate Syrian strike with Russia: Pentagon

Washington, Nov 19 (IANS) The Pentagon said on Wednesday the US military had no plans to conduct coordinated operations with the Russians in striking IS.

“Right now, we have no plans. We’re not coordinating with the Russians, (and) we’re not conducting operations with Russians, nor are we planning to do any of those things here at the ground level, ” said Steve Warren, spokesman for US military campaign Operation Inherent Resolve against the extremist group the Islamic State.

Warren’s remarks went in line with Pentagon’s stance since Russia started its own air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30, accusing the Russian military of targeting Syrian rebels who opposed the Syrian government rather than IS targets.

His remarks also came after the Kremlin announced on Tuesday it was coordinating with the French military to step up air strikes against the IS, the same day as Russian officials confirmed that a bomb brought down a Russian jetliner in Egypt about two weeks ago, killing 224 people. IS has claimed responsibility for downing the Russian airliner.

Meanwhile, Russian air forces on Tuesday intensified air strikes around Raqqa in northern Syria.

According to a press release by the Russian military, Tuesday’s operation involved 12 Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers targeting IS facilities in Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, as well as 34 cruise missiles against targets in the Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

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