Kerry: U.S. will not Coordinate Air Strikes with Syria

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The United States will not coordinate air attacks on Islamic State militants with Syria but will seek to ensure their forces do not come into conflict, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview aired Sunday.

"We will certainly want to deconflict and make certain that they're (Syria) not about to do something that they might regret even more seriously," Kerry said in the interview on CBS's Face the Nation.

"But we're not going to coordinate, it's not a cooperative effort."

Kerry, who spoke Saturday in Cairo before news of the latest IS beheading of a Western hostage, British aid worker David Haines, insisted "all bases are covered" for a U.S.-led campaign against the militant group.

He said U.S. allies in the Middle East and beyond were ready to help, some even offering troops on the ground and others to conduct air strikes alongside the United States if necessary.

"I can tell you right here and now that we have countries in this region, countries outside of this region, in addition to the United States, all of whom are prepared to engage in military assistance, in actual strikes if that is what it requires," he said.

Kerry acknowledged that air strikes alone would not be sufficient to defeat IS, which has overrun swaths of Iraq and Syria, but reiterated that Washington would not put U.S. troops on the ground.

Asked if any countries were willing to put troops on the ground, he said, "There are some who have offered to do so, but we are not looking for that at this moment anyway." 

"The answer is yes, there are some that have said that, there are some that are clearly prepared to take action in the air alongside the United States and to do air strikes if that's what they're called on to do," he added.

Kerry said opposition forces would do the fighting on the ground in Syria, augmented by U.S. and allied air support.

He did not explain how the United States would "deconflict" air strikes in Syria without some coordination with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Experts say Syria has sophisticated air defenses that could pose a challenge to any air strikes.

But Kerry insisted "every single aspect of the president's (Obama's) strategy, and what is needed to be done in order to accomplish our goal, has been offered by one country or multiple countries and all bases are covered."

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