US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. AP photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that they will continue to deconflict anti-ISIS efforts in Syria, while stating that only a political solution can resolve the civil war.
"The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and deconfliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS," read the joint statement released by the Kremlin and White House.
Putin and Trump met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Saturday.
Both countries' militaries are supporting counter-ISIS operations in eastern Deir ez-Zor province. The Americans are backing local groups who allied to form the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
"They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved," added the joint statement.
Russia has supported the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whose government has been supported by Hezbollah and Iranian proxies. The United States has said Assad must go to bring an end to the more than six-year-long civil war.
"The Presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria. They confirmed that the ultimate political solution to the conflict must be forged through the Geneva process pursuant to UNSCR 2254," outlined the joint statement.
The United States ended a covert program that supported Syrian rebels shortly after Trump came into office.
The United States has backed Kurdish groups in the north against ISIS. The same Kurdish groups of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) have also established an enclave of Rojava in the north. They are holding their own confederal elections and establishing self governance.
"The Presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, as defined in UNSCR 2254, and urged all Syrian parties to participate actively in the Geneva political process and to support efforts to ensure its success," added the US-Russian statement.
Trump and Putin last met in July in Hamburg.
"Having a relationship with Russia would be a great thing, especially as it relates to North Korea," Trump told reporters accompanying him on Air Force One. "It would take a lot of danger out of this world. It's a dangerous time — this isn't small stuff."
Trump said he and Putin did not have time to discuss North Korea during their brief conversations.