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Cooperation With Syrian Government Needed to Battle IS: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

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The success of the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State (IS) depends on its willingness to cooperate with the Syrian government, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov said Sunday.

CAIRO, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - The success of the US-led coalition’s campaign against the Islamic State (IS) depends on its willingness to cooperate with the Syrian government, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov said Sunday.

“How is it possible to fight against terrorism in a country, when the leadership of that country wishes to fight, but [US and its allies] do not recognize its sovereignty? There is a need for clear understanding of what a sovereign state is, and cooperation with this country’s government, like this is done in Iraq,” Bogdanov said, adding that “there should be no double standards.”

According to the deputy minister, who also serves as Russia’s special presidential envoy for the Middle East, terrorism issues must be addressed “collectively and on the basis of clear principles.”

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group expanded its attacks to northern and western Iraq. The group has seized vast areas in both countries and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

In August, the United States authorized limited airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq. Washington extended its airstrikes against the militants into Syria in September, after US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition.

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