The United States has proposed to Russia a plan for managing an increasingly complex battlefield in Syria's main oil-producing region, where US-backed forces fighting Islamic extremists are in conflict with Russian-backed Syrian forces.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford declined to describe the proposal in detail, but said the Russian military is eager to find ways to avoid an armed US-Russian conflict in the area around Deir el-Zour on the Euphrates River. The US sees that area, from Deir el-Zour down the Euphrates River Valley to al-Qaim on the Iraqi side of the border, as the next major battleground in the evolving coalition campaign to destroy ISIS.
"We have a proposal that we're working on with the Russians right now," Dunford said at a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. "I won't share the details, but my sense is that the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are to de-conflict operations and ensure that we continue to take the campaign to ISIS and ensure the safety of our personnel."