Russia, US Talk Syria Coordination, But Spar Over Friday Airstrikes

Russia: US Never Gave Coordinates of 'Moderate' Rebels

by Jason Ditz, June 19, 2016

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a deal has been reached with the Pentagon that will expand the level of coordination between the two nations in their respective military operations in Syria, with Russia in particular pushing for a ‘shared map’ of the situation on the ground.

The deal is the result of weekend talks with the Pentagon, which has continued to loudly accuse Russia of “deliberately” attacking pro-US rebels in the Tanf border area, along the three-way border between Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

Russian officials denied that the Friday strikes could have possibly “deliberately” targeted US allies, because the US never gave them the coordinates of any pro-US forces in the area in the first place. The area has significant ISIS and al-Qaeda presence, which Russia insists they meant to target.

They may not even have been mistaken, with the Nusra Front deeply embedded with many of the “pro-US” forces, and having been reported in some cases to have been involved in taking the Tanf crossing away from ISIS. The US has repeatedly demanding Russia stop all attacks on Nusra because the al-Qaeda affiliated is so closely embedded with the “moderates.”

Of border crossings into Iraq, Tanf is considered the least strategically important, as it links a relatively empty part of southeast Syria to a similarly empty chunk of desert in southwest Iraq.

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