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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
KOBANE – Aircraft of the US-led coalition on Tuesday launched a number of airstrikes on headquarters of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa province. This comes as the Kurdish-Led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started a campaign to liberate Raqqa province from ISIS militants.
Russia ready to coordinate efforts with US-led coalition on liberating Raqqa — FM
TASHKENT, May 24. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Russia is ready to coordinate efforts with US-led coalition and Kurdish forces in Syria to liberate Raqqa.
“I cannot say whether reports that such actions have already started are true, but we are ready for coordination - that I can confirm," Lavrov said on Tuesday commenting on the statement of a representative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party that soon an active phase an offensive at Raqqa will start with participation of Kurds, the United States and Russia.
"Raqqa is one of the aims of the anti-terrorist coalition, just like Iraq’s Mosul. We are confident that these cities could have been liberated more effectively and faster if our military officials (of Russia and US) would have started coordinating their actions much earlier,” the foreign minister noted.
"There is a chance now that such coordination will take place. We think that Russian Aerospace Defense Forces and US-led coalition’s aviation should work synchronously, in coordination, and help those on the ground to really resist terrorist units. First of all, among them [forces on the ground] are, of course, armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, and, of course, different groups of Kurdish forces, including the armed part of the Democratic Union Party," Lavrov said.
Russia, US agree to coordinate their anti-terrorism efforts
According to the minister, Russia and the United States have agreed to switch over from information exchange to coordination of their anti-terrorism efforts, practical aspects of these issues are now being discussed by the two countries’ military.
"We have agreed with our American partners, not overnight but through clearing up their doubts and reflections and even overcoming their resistance, to finally switch over from information exchange to coordination of anti-terrorism efforts. Practical aspects of these issues are now being looked at by our defense ministries. As you know, full-time communications channels have been established between the Russia airbase at Khmeimim and U.S. representatives in the Jordanian capital city. There is a direct Moscow-Washington link. Naturally, we have the Geneva-based round-the-clock Russian-U.S. center for Syria truce monitoring," Lavrov told journalists.GROZNY, May 24. /TASS/. Russia’s operation in Syria is a “pin-point military plan" and it will never grow into a "new Afghanistan," Deputy Russian Security Council Secretary Yevgeny Lukyanov told reporters on Tuesday.
"Someone predicted that this will be a new Afghanistan or something else. That will never happen," Lukyanov stressed. “This is a pin-point limited military plan," he said, describing Russia’s campaign in Syria.
"The main goal of our military operation was to launch a political dialogue," he said. “There needs to be an agreement, an agreement only through compromise."
"We are not Syrians, we will not fight for Syria there," Lukyanov said. "They should solve all issues themselves. We are helping but you see in what a limited format."
33,000 gunmen already killed in Syria
According to the official, some 33,000 gunmen have already been destroyed in Syria in the operation against terrorists, and 5,000 of them have been killed by the coalition forces.
“According to our estimates, in the beginning of our operation Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh had around 80,000 gunmen," Yevgeny Lukyanov said. "28,000 have been already destroyed, and the coalition destroyed another 5,000 over two years."
He said a turning point in the fight against terrorism in Syria has already come. “I believe that not only we think so," Lukyanov added.
“Judging from the reaction of the so-called actors on this theater of war and sometimes aggressive manifestations of the terrorist irreconcilable opposition, they strive to disrupt the process that is already a sign of a turning point."
Another sign is the withdrawal of a major part of Russia’s forces from Syria. "More than 100 settlements have acknowledged the ceasefire as a legal fact and observe it," he said. “Naturally, in these conditions the forces opposing this process will do everything to torpedo it."
Russia launched the operation against terrorists in Syria on September 30, 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Ceasefire took effect in Syria on February 27, 2016. Russia withdrew the main part of its forces from Syria in mid-March but its air task force continued delivering strikes against terrorists.