The Syrian statement did not mention the role of the United States, which has also stepped up strikes in the Palmyra area in recent weeks. During the last 10 days of February, the U.S. military conducted 23 strikes against Islamic State fighting units, tanks, storage facilities and command centers, according to the daily tally issued by the U.S. Central Command. Altogether in February, U.S. warplanes carried out 45 strikes in Palmyra.

The U.S. military has denied coordinating strikes directly either with Russia or the Syrian government but has said in the past that it is striking Palmyra to prevent military equipment captured by the Islamic State from being used by the militants in battles elsewhere against U.S.-backed forces.

If you think this is just WaPo propaganda, well — maybe. But there is evidence to suggest they're telling it like it is:


Yes, Washington denies coordinating the strikes with Russian and Syrian forces. But we're almost positive that's just an "official" denial to "keep up appearances".

It's healthy to sometimes flirt with the idea that U.S.-Russia relations aren't completely destroyed forever. And we think Palmyra might be a small — but noteworthy — example of how things are (slowly) changing. Are we allowed to say "changing for the better"? No, probably not yet.

But remember: A little over a year ago, NATO was blowing Russian fighter jets out of the clear blue skies above Syria.

Baby steps.