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Iran Press TV

US needs more talks with Russia to avoid conflicts in Syria: Air Force general

Iran Press TV

Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:18PM

A top US Air Force general says the United States and Russia need to enhance communication to avoid accidents in the skies over Syria because the country's airspace is shrinking as the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group loses more territory.

General Herbert Carlisle, who leads the Air Combat Command, said Friday he would support more discussions between the US and Russian militaries to avoid accidents as both are involved in the ongoing battle against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

"To me it makes sense that the deconfliction, the discussions, the more you can do that, the more you can build an understanding between folks that are flying in the same piece of airspace, the better off you're going to be," the general told reporters.

"So, I support that. Obviously, it's a decision above my pay grade, but I think it makes sense when you look at what we're trying to do over there and how complex and challenging that battle space is, and it is incredibly complex and challenging," he added.

The United States and Russia have communicated on a regular basis since September 2015, when Moscow launched its aerial campaign in Syria upon a request by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On the other hand, the US and some of its allies started conducting airstrikes inside Syria against Daesh terrorists, many of whom were initially trained by the CIA to fight against the Syrian government.

Back then, senior officials from the US Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a memorandum of understanding to take measures to minimize the risk of inflight incidents between American and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian air space.

Carlisle further said talks between the two sides are becoming more necessary now that Daesh is losing ground in Iraq and Syria. The current situation, according to the general, "creates more conflict potential between us and the other plays in the theater."

A report by The Washington Post said earlier that senior US military officials want to elevate talks with Russia about air operations over Iraq and Syria.

Concerns have already persisted about a potential collision in the Syrian airspace as US, Russian, Syrian and Turkish aircraft increasingly converge on the same areas, like the northern Syrian city of al-Bab in Raqqah Province.

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