The U.S. military will have to shift surveillance aircraft from other regions and increase the number of intelligence analysts to coordinate attacks with Russia under the Syria cease-fire deal partly in order to target militants the U.S. has largely spared, senior officials say.
Senior defense and military officials told The Associated Press that they are sorting out how the U.S.-Russia military partnership will take shape and how that will change where U.S. equipment and people will be deployed. They said, however, that they will need to take assets from other parts of the world, because U.S. military leaders don’t want to erode the current U.S.-led coalition campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
More military planners and targeting experts will be needed to identify and approve airstrikes against the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. The U.S. has rarely bombed the group, previously known as the Nusra Front, and the targeting is trickier because the militants are often intermingled with other U.S.-backed Syrian rebels.
Making matters more complicated are U.S. military concerns about Russian targeting. Unlike the U.S., which uses precision-guided munitions, Moscow has predominantly used so-called dumb bombs in its airstrikes over Syria.