The United States is open to carrying out joint operations with Russia in its fight against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Syria, the White House says.
Responding to a question about a Russian statement on a joint air mission with the US in Syria, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that the US would “work with any country that shares our interest in defeating” Daesh, an organization which newly sworn-in President Donald Trump had said was created as a result of wrong-headed American policies in the Middle East.
“If we can work with someone to create better economic access and spread economic growth and allow US small businesses and companies to…” he told reporters at a lengthy briefing at the White House, often offering freewheeling answers to a range of questions.
“If there’s a way we can combat ISIS (Daesh) with any country, whether it’s Russia or anyone else, and we have a shared national interest in that, sure, we’ll take it,” he said when asked about the prospect of joint military action in Syria.
Since September 2014, the US and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against Daesh inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. The US-led coalition has done little to stop Daesh’s advances in Syria.
In September of 2015, Russia launched its own air offensive against the terrorists who were still wreaking havoc in Syria. The Russian campaign, analysts say, has broken the backbone of Daesh and other militants.