The Trump administration has held two secret meetings with Russia about creating a safe zone in Syria in hopes of ending the conflict between government and rebel forces in that part of the country, according to news reports.
The last meeting occurred about two weeks ago in Jordan, where Jordanian officials also participated, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The sessions followed a visit to Moscow in April by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to the report. No new talks have been set.
Brett McGurk, special envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, and Michael Ratney, special envoy for Syria, are leading the talks for the United States, the Journal reports.
Russian Embassy officials in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A State Department official told the Journal that the U.S. had "nothing to announce regarding reports of discussions about southern Syria."
But the U.S. remained committed to a diplomatic solution in Syria, the official said.
"We have long said there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria and have worked tirelessly to achieve a de-escalation of violence and a defeat of ISIS, al-Qaida, and other terrorists."
News of the meetings come amid the growing concerns about Russia's involvement in the presidential election and concerns about possible ties with campaign associates of President Donald Trump.
In addition, the meetings also come amid heightened tensions in southern Syria between the U.S. and forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow has provided military aid to the Syrian regime, the Journal reports.
The Pentagon has long opposed safe zones of uneasiness about coordinating with Russia and fears that the areas could deepen U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Pentagon officials insisted to the Journal that the U.S. was not seeking conflict with the Syrian regime or any of its supporters, including Iran.
"We are in Syria to defeat ISIS, full-stop," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told the newspaper. "Anything else we do there is in self-defense only.
"We do no seek conflict with the Syrian regime or these pro-regime militias or pro-Iranian proxy forces."
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