Kartapolov’s statement comes at the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle is heading towards the Mediterranean to launch operations against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL or Daesh in Syria.
It remains at this time uncertain on what legal grounds France launches air strikes against Daesh on Syrian territory and whether Paris has back channel talks with Syria, facilitated by Moscow in that regard. Russia is currently the only nation that operates in Syria on invitation of the Syrian government and on the basis of international law.
The Russian State news agency Tass quotes the Chief of the Russian Main Operations Center of the Russian Army’s General Staff, Andrey Kartapolov, as saying:
"Under the Russian president’s decree, the General Staff is working out joint anti-terrorism operations with the French Navy. …With the arrival of the Charles de Gaulle warship to the Syrian shore we will organize joint military operations.”
On November 17,Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the commander of the Russian guided missile cruiser The Moskva, to establish contact and cooperation with French counterparts to draft a joint plan for action in the air and the sea. Putin noted that Russian air and naval forces already deployed in the region should consider the French forces as partners in combating terrorism in the region.
The Tass news agency would, however, quote "a source in defense and diplomatic circles” as saying that Russian naval vessels in Syrian waters would not provide air defense or anti-submarine support for the French aircraft carrier-led naval group as it can accomplish these objectives independently.