US open to joining Russia to defeat Daesh in Syria: White House

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds the first daily press briefing of the Trump administration in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, January 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

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 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.

This AFP file photo shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes 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.

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During his election campaign, Trump had said President Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton “founded” Daesh in the Middle East.

He also often criticized Obama’s decision to withdraw American military forces from Iraq and leaving behind a void for Daesh terrorists to fill. “We unleashed terrible fury all over the Middle East."

US President Donald Trump

Daesh terrorists, many of whom were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities, including Shia and Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and Christians.

Days after winning the November 8 presidential election, Trump said the United States should fight Daesh, and stop attacking the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, stating that he has had “an opposite view of many people regarding Syria.”

He criticized the Obama administration's policy of attempting to find “moderate Syrian opposition groups” to boost fighting against Assad, saying he will seek a possible rapprochement with Russia and find a solution for the Syrian conflict.

Trump had emphasized that his priority in Syria would be to eliminate Daesh and not to oust Assad.

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