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Russia, Israel to Coordinate Anti-terror Moves in Middle East



An Oct.12, 2015, image grab from a video made available on the Russian Defense Ministry’s official website, purports to show explosions resulting from Russian airstrikes against targets in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to coordinate their countries’ actions to fight terrorism in the Middle East, according to the Kremlin.

The two leaders discussed the crisis in Syria during a phone conversation Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

“Vladimir Putin stressed that there is no alternative to the launch of intra-Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, as well as to the continued and uncompromising fight against Islamic State and other extremist groups acting in Syria,” according to a Kremlin statement.

Russia has carried out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria in recent months, as well as against rebel groups fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a strong Russian ally.

Western governments and military analysts have accused Russia of placing a much higher priority on preserving the Assad government than on the broader goal of targeting extremists, particularly the Islamic State group.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for a new roadmap for peace in Syria.

The resolution expresses support for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations.  It formalizes a target of six months for establishing a transitional government, followed by elections within 18 months.  It also calls for the implementation of a nationwide cease-fire in parallel with intra-Syrian peace talks.

Walter Metuth

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