Russia, France agree to increase cooperation against DAESH

Russian President and his French counterpart agree to tighten cooperation in fight against DAESH even though they disagree on future of Assad regime in Syria

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with French President Francois Hollande (L) on November 26, 2015 at the Kremlin in Moscow.

French President Francois Hollande visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday and agreed to increase cooperation between their countries in the fight against the DAESH terror organisation.

DAESH has claimed responsibility for bombing a Russian passenger jet in Egypt's Sinai that killed 224 people and deadly Paris attacks in six different locations which left 130 people dead and at least 350 wounded.

France and Russia have decided to raise their intelligence sharing, focusing on air attacks against DAESH in Syria and cooperating in targeting terrorist points.

Addressing DAESH and extremists in Syria, Hollande said, "We agreed on a very important issue: To strike the terrorists only" and added, "not to strike the forces and the groups that are fighting against the terrorists."

“And we are going to exchange some information about tha t- what can be struck, and what must not be struck."

France, Russia at odds over Assad's future

Meanwhile, both leaders continue to disagree about the future of Assad. Hollande indicating that Assad "does not have his place in Syria's future," although Putin underlined that "the Syrian president's fate should be entirely in the hands of the Syrian people."

Putin identified Assad's forces as a "natural ally" in the fight against DAESH and an important force in fighting terrorists on the ground.

After the meeting between Hollande and Putin, US President Barack Obama announced Moscow’s cooperation against DAESH would be "enormously helpful." The US also remarked that a political transition in Syria must occur without Assad.

"We view the US-led coalition with respect and stand ready to cooperate with it," Putin said.

"We believe that we would better create a single, united coalition as it would be easier, simpler and more efficient to coordinate our work that way."

However, he added, "If our partners aren't ready for that, OK, we are ready to work in a different format that is acceptable to our partners. We are ready to cooperate with the US-led coalition."

Last week, Hollande called for the US and Russia to put aside their different Syria policies and concentrate on fighting the group in one broad coalition.

However, Russia has been a staunch ally of the Assad regime and has been accused of  bombing some rebel groups who are fighting against not only Assad but also DAESH in the ongoing war in Syria.

Putin has criticised the White House for not preventing the Russian Su-24 jet being shot down by NATO member Turkey on Tuesday.

Turkish authorities declared they shot down the Russian Su-24 bomber after it flew into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds despite being warned 10 times in five minutes before it was shot down.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) released radar footage of the incident which indicated the downed warplane violated Turkish airspace over the country’s Hatay Province near its Syrian border.

The Turkish Army also released audio recordings of warnings that were given to the Russian pilot before the jet was shot down.

However, Russia still denies its plane entered Turkish airspace or that a warning was issued to the pilot.

After the incident, the US, European Union and the NATO called on Turkey and Russia to de-escalate the tension.


TRTWorld and agencies