Ex-CIA: US-Russian Cooperation in Syria ‘Essential’ to Destroying Daesh

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US and Russian coordination on military and intelligence activities in Syria is indispensable to defeating Daesh, former CIA Officer Larry Johnson told Sputnik.

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed during meetings in Moscow the need to increase pressure on terrorist groups inside Syria like the Islamic State, the Nusra Front and al-Qaeda.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that a new US proposal on military cooperation with Russia in Syria includes a plan to establish a joint command center to facilitate the coordination of airstrikes on terrorist positions.

"US and Russian cooperation is essential to destroy ISIS," Johnson told Sputnik on Thursday.

A US-Russian joint-command center in Syria, Johnson noted, is feasible and necessary to counter terrorist groups in Syria but provides the ancillary benefits of having the superpowers build relations that will help soothe problems on other issues like Ukraine.

It is incumbent, Johnson suggested, on both Russia and the United States to acknowledge the legitimacy of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government while undergoing this collaboration.

The United States, in particular, he added, needs to stop both covert and overt efforts to destabilize Syria, which are "illegal and immoral."

"The [US President Barack] Obama Administration bears as much responsibility as Assad, perhaps more, for the chaos that has shaken Syria over the last five years," Johnson said.

US and Russian military cooperation aimed at terrorist groups in Syria will benefit the Assad government — as it should, Johnson argued.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with US State Secretary John Kerry in the Kremlin on Thursday said that he was convinced the United States and Russia both want to cooperate and achieve concrete results to resolve conflicts.

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