Updated 10:25 p.m. Moscow time.
PARIS, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - The United States and Russia agreed to strengthen intelligence exchanges related to the fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Central Asia, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.
The United States and Russia can overcome their differences on Ukraine and cooperate in the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria, Kerry said.
“In our discussions today I suggested to minister Lavrov that we intensify intelligence cooperation with respect to ISIL and other counter-terrorism intelligence in the region and we agreed to do so," Kerry told reporters in Paris following talks with russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We also agreed to explore whether Russia could do more to support Iraqi security forces, and the foreign minister indeed acknowledged their preparedness to help with respect to arms, weapons … and also potentially with the training and advising aspects."
Moscow and Washington had not previously partnered on the issue, according to claims, made earlier in October by US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet.
Kerry said that some 500 Russian civilians have joined the Islamic State, a well-armed sectarian Sunni Muslim militia of some 30,000 fighters. The insurgent group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has seized vast areas in Syria and Iraq and declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
US Airstrikes against the Islamic state began on September 15, with other countries such as France and the United Kingdom joining later to form an airstrike coalition to quash the militant group.
Obama's strategy against the IS also includes bolstering a ground force of Kurds, Iraqis and moderate elements of Syria's opposition. Critics have claimed the US president over-depends on air power, lacks reliable allies to act as ground troops and has no strategy for ending Syria's civil war.
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 extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.