Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called his Russian counterpart this morning to engage in military-to-military talks about the escalating conflict in Syria. The Pentagon described the conversation with Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu as “constuctive” and said the two “agreed to further discuss mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria and the counter-ISIL campaign,” using another acronym for ISIS. Carter said consultations with Russia must “parallel with diplomatic talks that would ensure a political transition in Syria.” The U.S. military has publicly admitted to only training 54 fighters as part of a $500 million training program. As many as 5,000 other fighters in northern Syria are believed to have received CIA training.
— Nancy A. Youssef