US Urges Joint Russo-Turkish Ops to Target ISIS in Syria

Turkey FM: Greater Coordination Wouldn't Mean Joint Operations

by Jason Ditz, August 11, 2016

Following reports early in the day that Turkish officials were engaged in discussions on joint military operations with Russia against ISIS, the State Department issued a statement backing the idea, insisting they would approve of any plan if Russia was “really interested” in fighting ISIS.

The State Department statement was worded so as to present the US as very skeptical about Russia’s interest in fighting ISIS, even though Russia has been launching airstrikes against them for nearly a year. The US has long complained Russia’s war is aimed at helping the Syrian government recover territory from ISIS, not just on fighting ISIS.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, however, was quick to put the kibosh on such talk, insisting that the initial media reports of joint operations being discussed were a misunderstanding, and that Turkey was simply seeking increased coordination with the Russians on the battle.

“This does not mean that Turkish jets and Russian jets will fly together,” Cavusoglu noted. Russia has previously sought increased coordination in the same manner with the US, though this by and large has been spurned by US officials, who have largely opposed any but the most limited information sharing.

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