"Any space would have to be created by Congress or a waiver they would approve to do something like that. I have not asked for that at this point and we’ll see what direction comes down," Votel told reporters.
Votel said deconfliction continues with Russia in Syria, however, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov also opined saying that deconfliction in Syria is not enough. Antonov said the Russian military wants to establish "normal, mutually respectful relations," but added that the US military is legally forbidden to cooperate with Russia.
According to the US commander, US forces in Syria have received no further special instructions following the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier this week.
"For us right now it’s kind of steady as it goes. We received no further direction," Votel said. "We continue our communication in deconfliction with the Russian Federation Commanders to ensure protection of our respective forces … No new guidance for me as a result of the Helsinki discussions."
Votel said on Thursday that any further cooperation with the Russian military in Syria would require action by the US Congress.
Trump also said in an interview after the summit that the positions of the United States and Russia on Syria are quite similar, and the two countries' approaches are getting closer.
Russia, together with Turkey and Iran, is a guarantor of the ceasefire in Syria that has been engulfed in an armed conflict since 2011 and has been assisting Damascus by offering support to combat terrorists as well as by providing humanitarian aid.