Votel: No new direction on Syria after Trump-Putin talks

July 19, 2018 - 7:28 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East says he has received no new guidance from the Pentagon on cooperating with Russia in Syria following the Helsinki summit.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Thursday he's taking a "steady-as-she-goes" approach in Syria in the absence of new instructions. He said the mission remains to defeat the Islamic State group.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday, the day after President Donald Trump discussed Syria and other topics with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that it is ready to implement what it called agreements reached on increased cooperation with the U.S. military in Syria.

Speaking from his headquarters in Tampa, Florida, Votel noted that U.S. law prohibits coordination and collaboration with the Russian military.

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