The US will share intelligence with Russian officials about Al Qaeda in Syria if Russian warplanes refrain from launching airstrikes outside certain “designated areas,” according to the preliminary terms of the Joint Implementation Group proposed by the Obama administration last week.
The text of the agreement, first obtained by The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin, proposes that Russia and the US expand their military coordination in Syria “to defeat Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS] within the context of strengthening the Cessation of Hostilities [CoH] and supporting the political transition process outlined in UNSCR 2254.”
“UNSCR 2254” refers to the United Nations Security Council resolution adopted in December calling for an immediate end to attacks on civilian targets and a political settlement to the Syrian civil war.
The new JIG proposal calls on Russia to limit its air operations to targeting Al Qaeda in agreed-upon “designated areas.” It also proposes that the Syrian army completely halt its aerial bombardments. But the text seems to explicitly allow Russia to “strike in areas where the opposition is dominant,” even if Al Qaeda has only “some possible” presence there.
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