October 23, 2015 / 12:25 PM / 2 years ago

Russia, Jordan agree on military coordination on Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and Jordan have agreed to coordinate their military actions on Syria by setting up a “special working mechanism” in the Jordanian capital Amman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Jordan's King Abdullah (L) speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin/Pool

Russia, which is bombing rebel targets in Syria in support of its ally President Bashar al-Assad, has already forged close cooperation with the governments of Iraq, Syria and Iran, which are all part of a loose Shi‘ite alliance pursuing different aims from those of the United States and its allies.

Jordan, however, is Sunni-dominated and closely aligned with Washington, so Moscow’s deal with Jordan could mark a shift in the alliances engaged in the Syria conflict.

“The military of the two countries have agreed to coordinate their actions through a working mechanism in Amman, capital of Jordan,” Lavrov said in comments broadcast by Rossiya-24 television channel.

“We think that other states that participate in the anti- terrorist fight can join this mechanism as well,” Lavrov added.

Lavrov, who gave no further details, was speaking in Vienna, where he was attending talks with senior officials from the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to explore a political solution to Syria’s civil war.

Russia has rejected Western calls for Assad to step down, saying Syria’s leadership can only be decided by the Syrian people via elections, and in the clearest sign of its backing, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted him in Moscow this week.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Maria Tsvetkova, editing by Gareth Jones

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