– Amid increasing unease and uncertainty over Russia’s intentions, the Obama administration plans to accept an offer from Russia for direct talks on its military buildup in Syria that U.S. officials believe is aimed at propping up Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Seeking answers to questions about the reasoning behind Moscow’s recent deliveries of material and manpower to a base in Syria, U.S. officials said they expect the administration to begin a military-to-military dialogue with Russia soon. The exact level, venue and timing have yet to be determined.

Secretary of State John Kerry revealed the Russian offer for talks when he told reporters on Wednesday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had proposed them in a phone call a day earlier. Kerry said he personally thought the idea was a good one. Other officials said later that national security adviser Susan Rice had signed off on the talks and that Defense Secretary Ash Carter had agreed.

Associated Press