A meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon, in November 2015, for all participants to work together in the military attacks on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. A spokesman from Washington discussed a vote on the individual attacks by Russia in Syria. Communications were tested by the incident over Turkey when a Russian two-seater Sukhoi fighter bomber was shot down on the Turkish/Syrian border by Turkmen fighters opposed to Assad.
Both President Obama and Secretary of state John Kerry want military co-operation with Russia. US Armed Forces Colonel Warren in Baghdad states there is no sign of such co-operation. There is much distrust in Moscow. Opposition sources and western diplomats hope the air strikes following the November 13, 2015, Paris massacres should allow Russia and France to co-operate on air attacks together. Single air attacks on positions in Raqqa and Deir al Zor where IS is clearly present have produced results. Russian air attacks have little effect on IS but more so on Anti-IS-coalition forces.
IS forces (50,000 strong) lost the provincial town of Singar to Kurdish Peshmerga forces last November, 2015. The Rebel Alliance of the Syrian Democratic forces (70,000 strong) re-took at least 200 villages from IS late last year. The Syrian army (80,000 strong) supported by Russian air attacks constantly retake territory from IS south of Aleppo, late last year. The Iraqi National Army supported by Sh’ia Militias and led by an Iranian Hezbollah Revolutionary Guard General launched a series of offensives in Anbar province against IS targets during the past year. The 800 Humvees captured in 2014 in Mosul have been mostly destroyed by coalition air strikes.
‘Raqqa is being slaughtered silently’ according to activists, using local networks to report on the state of IS forces. Syrian Human Rights report many IS extremists were killed last year in Raqqa and further that IS leaders are moving their families to Mosul for safety. Significantly, 116 heavily laden oil tank trucks were destroyed by coalition air strikes fully interdicting oil smugglers and their handlers at a time when IS funds are critical.
The November 2015, Beirut meeting at last led to a 7 day cease fire in Syria commencing September 12, 2015 which is being adhered by all factions.
Washington: Russland bombardiert weiterh kaum IS; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 20 2015