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US suggests joint operation against Syria terrorists with Russia — WSJ

July 14, 2016, 7:45 UTC+3

The US Administration has handed the draft document to the Russian authorities

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WASHINGTON, July 14. /TASS/. The United States has suggested that the US and Russia should launch a joint operation against the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group and coordinate efforts aimed at destruction of the Islamic State (both groups are outlawed in Russia), in line with the text of the proposal published by the Washington Post on Wednesday.

The US Administration has handed the draft document to the Russian authorities, it said.

The online newspaper said that for implementation of the new agreements, if they were to be signed, "the United States is suggesting a new military command-and-control headquarters to coordinate the air campaign that would house US and Russian military officers, intelligence officials and subject-matter experts."

"The proposed ‘Joint Implementation Group’ (JIG) would be housed near Amman, Jordan," it says.

The purpose of the JIG will be "to enable expanded coordination between the United States and the Russian Federation beyond the established safety of flight procedures" and "work to maximize independent, but synchronized, efforts against Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State - eds. TASS) in Syria," the document says. Moreover, "coordination should begin with information exchange on both Nusra and Daesh," it says.

"If national authorities determine that integrated operations against deliberate targets is in the interest of both participants (U.S. and Russia - eds. TASS), the participants should coordinate procedures to permit integrated operations," it says.

Along with this, the United States insists that Russia should provide it with "advance notice of all regime air operations." Syria’s Air Force may conduct "air operations that are permitted as exemptions to the grounding of Syrian military aircraft."

"The regime is prohibited from flying in designated areas; designated areas include areas of most concentrated Nusra presence, areas of significant Nusra presence, and areas where the opposition is dominant, with some possible Nusra presence," the document reads.

The U.S. demands that Russia should agree to assist the Syrian army in the air if the Jabhat al-Nusra mounts an offensive, only if it is coordinated with the U.S "in advance of such operations taking place, no later than the day prior to execution".

The text reads that the Armed Forces of Russia and the United States should boost cooperation "within the context of strengthening the Cessation of Hostilities (CoH)" between Damascus and the opposition and "supporting the political transition process outlined in UNSCR 2254."

The proposals are expected to be the keynote of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s talks in Moscow on Thursday and Friday.

The ceasefire has been effective in Syria since February 27, 2016. It does not apply to the groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia), and also to other groups declared as terrorist by the UN Security Council. Russia’s aviation grouping has been delivering air strikes against the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria since September 30, 2015 at the request of Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Since 2014, the US-led coalition has also been delivering air strikes against militants in Syria and Iraq.

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