Moscow’s actions in Syria have raised concerns in Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry has placed his third call in 10 days to his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Russia's recent military buildup in Syria has left the Obama administration in a quandary as to how to respond. It has also complicated Washington's efforts to both combat "Islamic State" extremists and help moderate rebels who are trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Secretary of State John Kerry has called his Kremlin counterpart Sergei Lavrov to restate the US position after Russia's President Vladimir Putin promised to maintain military support for Assad.
"Secretary Kerry made clear that Russia's continued support for President Assad risks exacerbating and extending the conflict, and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism," said his office.
Putin, however, has said that it is impossible to defeat the Islamic State group without cooperating with Damascus and has urged other countries to join the cause.
The Obama administration's argument has been the reverse, blaming Assad for the rise of the Islamic State and warning that attempts to prop him up will only prolong the conflict.
Kerry "reaffirmed the US commitment to fight ISIL with a coalition of more than 60 countries, of which Assad could never be a credible member, and emphasized the US would welcome a constructive Russian role in counter-ISIL efforts," it added, using an acronym by which the "Islamic State" is known.
The United States had hoped to convince Russia, a long-standing ally of Damascus, to help convince Assad to step down and permit a transitional regime to negotiate an end to Syria's civil war.
av/jil (AP, AFP)