Russia has sent fighter jets to Syria, U.S. officials said, raising the stakes in a military buildup that has put Washington on edge and led Friday to the first talks between U.S. and Russian defense chiefs in over a year.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, eyeing the possibility of rival U.S. and Russian air operations in Syria’s limited airspace, agreed in a call with his Russian counterpart to explore ways to avoid accidental military interactions.
The coordination necessary to avoid such encounters is known in military parlance as “deconfliction.”
“They agreed to further discuss mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria and the counter-ISIL campaign,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said after the call, referring to the campaign by the U.S. and its allies against ISIS militants.
The former Cold War foes have a common adversary in ISIS militants in Syria, even as Washington opposes Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, seeing him as a driver in the nation’s devastating, four-and-a-half-year civil war.
A senior U.S. defense official, recounting details of the conversation, said Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had described Moscow’s activities in Syria as defensive in nature.
Shoigu said Russia’s military moves “were designed to honor commitments made to the Syrian government,” the U.S. official said.
It was unclear, however, what those commitments to Syria are or how Russia’s military buildup was relevant to them.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر