Russia to crush Caliphate
the rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, rather than Islamic State.
Russia’s alignment and actions have so far precluded a joint front with the United States, Britain, France and other European countries that are also bombing Daesh in Syria and Iraq.
Until this week, co-operation has amounted to no more than co-ordinating air-strikes to avoid confrontations between Russian and Western jets.
The first sign of this happening were the relatively friendly talks between President Putin and Western leaders — including President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron — at the G20 summit in Ankara. Following that meet- ing, Mr Putin instructed his navy to work with France in the Mediterranean against Daesh.
Another sign of the newly joinedup approach are reports of intelligence-sharing between the UK and Russia over the investigation into the crash of the Russian airliner in Sinai nearly three weeks ago, which is now being seen as another Daesh operation against an international enemy.
Assad’s future remains a sticking point with Russia, but the embattled Syrian president can allow himself a degree of satisfaction this week at the fact that despite his forces having killed 100 times more civilians than Daesh, the West is now less interested than ever in his removal.