Putin, Obama to 'intensify' coordination in Syria: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and US President Barack Obama agreed to intensify military coordination between their two countries in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and US President Barack Obama agreed to intensify military coordination between their two countries in Syria.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama agreed during a telephone call Wednesday (July 6) to "intensify" military coordination between their two countries in Syria, the Kremlin said.

"The two parties have confirmed their desire to intensify coordination between the Russian and American militaries in Syria," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin also called on Obama to help aid the separation of moderate opposition groups from "terrorist groups like the Al-Nusra front", it said.

In a separate statement, the White House reported that the leaders had "confirmed their commitment to defeating ISIL (ISIS) and the Al-Nusra Front."

Obama also stressed "the necessity for progress on a genuine political transition to end the conflict in Syria, as well as sustained humanitarian access."

Both leaders stressed the importance of restarting UN-sponsored Syria peace talks after two rounds of negotiations held in Geneva since the start of the year ended without progress, the Kremlin said.

Russia and the United States have already been cooperating in Syria with Moscow calling for "decisive joint action against Al-Nusra" in June.

Russia proposed joint air strikes with the US against jihadist targets in Syria in May, a proposal that was rejected immediately by Washington.

During a visit to Georgia ahead of a NATO summit, US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed Wednesday the 72-hour ceasefire announced by the Syrian army to coincide with Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He added that he hoped a more long-term cessation of hostilities will follow.

Obama additionally expressed "concerns over the failure of the Syrian regime to comply with the cessation," stressing calls for Russia to press the regime on the matter.

The last truce in the country was declared on Feb 27 between regime and non-extremist rebel groups after being brokered by Russia and the United States.

Though it did not apply to the battle against extremist factions, it sharply reduced violence in the conflict that has so far claimed more than 280,000 lives and displaced millions of people.

The ceasefire all but collapsed after repeated violations.