The US and Russia are about to have an agreement to find a way to end the civil war in Syria after defeating ISIS, according to The Associated Press.
If clinched, the deal was expected to be announced by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam on Friday, four US officials said.
The US has been reluctant to schedule a formal meeting for the leaders unless they have a substantive agreement to announce.
The potential understanding comes as an array of forces are near a final defeat of ISIS, the terrorist group that once controlled vast stretches of both Iraq and Syria.
Fighting the group is no longer top priority, shifting the focus back to Syria’s intractable conflict between Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s government and Syrian democratic forces, and to concerns that foreign powers such as Iran will now dominate the country’s future.
The US-Russian agreement being discussed would focus on three elements, officials said: “deconfliction” between the US and Russian militaries, reducing violence in the civil war and reinvigorating UN-led peace talks. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the deliberations and requested anonymity.
The agreement also seeks to build on progress in establishing “de-escalation zones” in Syria that have calmed some parts of the country. In July, when Trump held his first meeting with Putin in Germany, the US and Russia announced a deal that included Jordan and established a cease-fire in southwest Syria.
The US has said that cease-fire has largely held and could be replicated elsewhere in the country.
A key US concern is the presence of Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria (IMIS) that have exploited the vacuum of power.
The US has been seeking ways to prevent IMIS from establishing a permanent presence in Syria.