US denies reports over approving Syrian regime airstrikes


People walk on rubble as others try to put out a fire caused by airstrikes by the Syrian air force in Damascus suburb. File photo

ARA News 

DAMASCUS – The US State Department said on Monday that the new cease-fire deal for Syria includes no provisions for the US and Russia to approve Syrian government airstrikes.

State Department Spokesman John Kirby’s statement comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Syria could continue bombing operations against al-Qaida-linked militants as part of the truce, if Washington and Moscow agree.

“We have seen reports, based on the Secretary’s comments – and those of the spokesperson – this afternoon, that the US and Russia could approve of strikes by the Syrian regime. This is incorrect,” US State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“The arrangement announced last week makes no provision whatsoever for the US and Russia to approve strikes by the Syrian regime, and this is not something we could ever envision doing,” he said.

“A primary purpose of this agreement from our perspecitive, is to prevent the Syrian regime air force from flying or striking in any areas in which the opposition or Nusra are present,” Kirby added.

“The purpose of the JIC, if and when it is established, would be to coordinate military action between the US and Russia, not for any other party,” he concluded.

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