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Russian claims of joint IS mission with coalition forces in Syria 'rubbish'

Russia's claim that its warplanes flew a joint mission over Syria with the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group is "rubbish", American officials said.

Russia's defence ministry said on Monday that its forces in Syria had received coordinates of IS targets near al-Bab on Sunday "from the US side via hotline with the international coalition headquarters".

US air force colonel John Dorrian, a coalition spokesman, almost immediately labelled the Russian claim as propaganda.

US navy captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the US does have routine "deconfliction" talks with Russia to avoid unintended aerial incidents in Syria's crowded skies. But he said there have been no changes to that arrangement, and the US has insisted for months that it has no coordination or sharing of targets with Russia.

The Russian defence ministry had said that two Russian warplanes and two aircraft of the US-led coalition had struck the targets, destroying several ammunition and fuel depots along with militants and weapons.

The attack followed a joint raid in the same area flown by Russian and Turkish jets on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration said it is willing to partner with Moscow to combat the Islamic State group.

In his first daily White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday that President Donald Trump has been "very clear" that he will "work with any country committed to defeating ISIS".

He said the administration will work "with Russia or anyone else" to defeat the militant group, either militarily or economically.

The president has vowed to defeat IS "quickly" when he takes office, though he has not provided specifics on his plans for US military efforts in Iraq and Syria.

AP

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