US military denies ‘communication’ with Syria regime
WASHINGTON - The US military flatly denied Tuesday a claim from a Kurdish militia source that it coordinates air strikes against the IS group in Syria with Bashar al-Assad's government forces.
Both Syrian and US-led coalition planes have been seen in recent days over Hasakeh in northern Syria, where the so-called Islamic State is battling local Kurdish fighters.
An officer in the town with the YPG Kurdish militia, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the two air forces "communicate through a Kurdish mediator."
But a US military spokesman insisted that this is not the case.
"US aircraft are not coordinating in any way with Syrian government assets, neither directly or through an intermediary, nor have we in the past," Major Curtis Kellogg of US Central Command said.
The United States and some of its allies are engaged in an aerial bombing campaign targeting the IS group on the territory it has carved out in Iraq and Syria.
In Iraq, the strikes are conducted with the approval and cooperation of the Iraqi government, which is itself locked in a fierce ground conflict with the jihadists.
But the situation is more complicated in Syria, where US air strikes are conducted to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the IS group and to assist some Kurdish and rebel factions, but not to support the government.