الجمعة , يونيو 12 2020

Russia and US 'to hold Syria air talks'

Bomb under Russian military jet near Idlib in Syria, Russian Defence Ministry photograph 5 Oct 2015Image copyright
Russian Defence Ministry/Reuters

Image caption

Russian jets have been carrying out operations over Syria

Russia has agreed to hold talks with the US on air safety during Syria bombing campaigns, says the Pentagon.

The talks “are likely to take place as soon as this weekend,” said press secretary Peter Cook.

There have been concerns that there could be an accidental clash as the two countries pursue separate bombing campaigns over Syria.

The US and its Nato allies have been alarmed at violations of Turkish air space by Russian jets.

Earlier this week, Pentagon officials said they had had to carry out at least one “safe separation” manoeuvre to avoid a US jet coming too close to a Russian aircraft over Syria.

They said this happened after 1 October, without giving a specific date.

Talks are likely to deal with how much separation there should between US and Russian aircraft and which language crews should use for communications.

Russia has also launched rocket strikes from warships in the Caspian Sea.

There have been concerns that Russia is targeting opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, rather than Islamic State positions.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter on Friday accused Russia of running “fundamentally flawed” operations in Syria which would “inflame the civil war and therefore extremism”.

But Moscow has denied claims that its week of strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets.

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