US, Russian defense chiefs discuss Syria’s “deconfliction”
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu held talks Friday on “areas where their perspectives overlap and areas of divergence,” according to the Pentagon spokesman. He said that Carter emphasized the importance of these consultations running in parallel with diplomatic talks to ensure a political transition in Syria and defeat ISIL. DEBKAfile: The two powers differ on two major issues:: US Secretary of State John Kerry has insisted that Bashar Assad cannot have “a long-term presence in power,” whereas Russia says that helping Assad’s military is the best way to fight ISIS. Russia has set up a military operations base in the coastal province of Latakia and is pumping in personnel and hardware to the embattled country to shore up the Assad regime.