The Russian ambassador to France says Syria needs free elections under international supervision after the defeat of Islamic State group.

Alexander Orlov, speaking Thursday to France Info radio, said Russian warplanes targeted Islamic State and al-Nusra and that the Russian military had coordinated with American counterparts via "confidential channels." His comments contradicted U.S. criticism that there was no formal coordination and that targets that did not appear to include Islamic State.

Orlov said Russia intervened only after the repeated failure of the U.S.-led coalition to dislodge the Islamic extremist group, and that he hoped for "free elections" in Syria within a year.

The U.S. and Russia agree on the need to fight the Islamic State group but not about what to do with Syrian President Bashar Assad.