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Despite US strikes, Moscow still wants to work with Washington on Syria

Though the Russians continue to protest US strikes on Syrian government forces and pro-government paramilitaries, the Kremlin is unlikely to respond as long as it remains focused on cooperation with Washington.
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria  on April 7, 2017.  Ford Williams/Courtesy U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX34HHA

While Russian officials have vocally complained about the Donald Trump administration’s increasingly frequent strikes on government forces and pro-government paramilitaries in Syria, the Kremlin remains focused on cooperation with Washington and is unlikely to respond to US actions as long as that is the case. If the US administration’s objective is to establish greater credibility in Syria to deal with Moscow from a position of strength, as Trump and other US officials have said, it may be working, at least so far.

In addition to striking a Syrian air base with cruise missiles in April in what US officials called a punitive response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the United States conducted air attacks on pro-government troops in May and June. US officials described the latter actions as necessary to protect “coalition and partner forces” in At Tanf, near Syria’s border with Iraq.

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