WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) — Earlier on Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu agreed in a telephone conversation to continue discussions to ensure a peaceful resolution to crisis in Syria.
"We are going to continue to encourage Russia to find a constructive way to support ongoing counter-ISIL [Islamic State] operations inside of Syria," Earnest said.
Earnest said that the military-to-military cooperation that the two countries seek to restart is "cooperation at a practical, tactical level," which is different from the relations that existed prior to the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia, unlike many Western countries, considers President Assad and his government are the legitimate authority in Syria.
US officials have raised concerns about Russia’s presence in Syria, saying it could empower the Assad government.