US, Russia to discuss air safety in Syria says Pentagon

Washington and Moscow set to renew talks aimed at preventing any accidental crashes during air operations in Syria

Photo by: DoD
Photo by: DoD

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook conducts a news conference at the Pentagon.

The US Department of State announced on Friday that the US and Russia are set renew talks for air safety in the Syrian civil war.

The White House and the Kremlin aim to avoid accidental clashes as they carry out separate bombing campaigns.

"The Department of Defence has received a formal response from the Russian ministry of defence regarding DoD's proposal to ensure safe air operations over Syria," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

Russia’s intervention in the ongoing war in Syria has complicated the plans of the US which has been conducting air strikes against ISIS for more than a year.

The US is opposed to Syrian leader Bashar al Assad who is supported by Russia but agreed to work on air safety procedures.

Both the US and Russian militaries held a secure video conference last week to maintain a safe distance between US and Russian fighter jets and using common radio frequencies for distress calls.

According to an announcement from the Pentagon the US military will not accept a Russian offer to hold more talks until it first receives a formal response to these proposals.

Spokesman Cook said, "Department leaders are reviewing the Russian response and talks are likely to take place as soon as this weekend."

Previously on Tuesday Russia’s deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said that the Russian military has agreed in principle with the proposals made by the US.

Russia began to conduct air strikes against ISIS in Syria last week. In these air strikes Russia also hit opposition forces trained by the US fighting against Assad regime.

Moreover, Russia violated the air space of NATO member and Syria's neighbour Turkey two times last weekend.

Despite Moscow saying that the violations of Turkish air space were accidental NATO members disagree on this issue.

US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter also criticised Russia for launching cruise missile strikes without warning, telling reporters on Friday that a Russian fighter jet were flying close to a US drone.

“With respect to the first part, those cruise missiles were intended for ground targets, and obviously it is -- for the Russians to have done that without giving any warning is a further indication that they're not thinking through the consequences of their conduct. But they were not -- their targets were intended to be ground targets,” Carter said.

The US claimed on Thursday that Russian cruise missiles crashed in Iran link after missing their targets in Syria.

Secretary Carter said, “For the first part about the Iranian impacts of cruise missiles, we did have some indications that that was the case… if so, that would indicate malfunctions of those missiles.”

Russia’s defence ministry has denied the allegations that the missiles crashed in Iran and insisted that the missiles had reached their targets in Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies