The United States has proposed a new joint approach to the Syrian conflict that reportedly would increase cooperation between ongoing Russian and U.S. military operations.
The Washington Post reported on June 30 that the proposal, sent to Moscow earlier this week, calls for sharing targeting and bombing information to go after Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front.
It was not immediately clear if Moscow had responded to the proposal, which would amount to a dramatic shift for the Obama administration.
Speaking to reporters on June 30, State Department spokesman John Kirby refused to confirm the report, saying that any talks Washington was having with Moscow on the issue were “internal diplomatic conversations.”
“But again we’ve been nothing but clear and forthright about what we want to see happen inside Syria and what we want to see the Russians do with respect to the influence we know that they have over [the Syrian government],” he said.
Russian and U.S. forces have been conducting parallel air campaigns in Syria, but Washington has accused Moscow of targeting moderate rebel groups in an effort to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally.
The proposal comes just a few weeks after Russian jets bombed U.S.-backed rebel forces in Syria twice, even after being specifically warned not to by U.S. officials.
U.S. officials have privately called that incident "very, very, very serious."