Russian forces in Syria say US pilots violating safety protocols: RIA

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Russian forces operating in Syria on Wednesday accused US military pilots of “gross violations” of protocols designed to avoid clashes between the two superpowers, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.

It cited Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria, as saying the American pilots were activating weapons systems when approaching Russian planes over the east of the country. Al Arabiya English has reached out to the US Central Command (CENTCOM) for comment.

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Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015, tipping the balance in President Bashar al-Assad’s favor. Moscow has since expanded its military facilities in the country with a permanent air base and also has a naval base.

The United States is leading a coalition against ISIS and has carried out air strikes in Syria this year.

In March, Gurinov said he had protested about “provocative actions” by US armed forces in Syria.

Russia and the United States have agreed special zones where the coalition can operate but he said American forces had been spotted in areas which lay outside the zones.

Read more: Russia carrying out unsafe and unprofessional air activity in Syria: US general

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