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Russia, US agree all technical issues on safety of flights above Syria — General Staff

October 16, 2015, 20:19 UTC+3
This will ensure conditions to prevent specific situations that could create an incident in Syrian airspace during activities of the aviation of the Russian Federation and partners in the coalition
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MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense will soon sign a document on safety of flights above Syria, all technical issues have been agreed, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Col. Gen. Andrey Kartapolov, said Friday.

"Now all technical issues have already been agreed and today Russian and American legal experts are verifying the text of the document. We hope that the document will be signed as soon as possible," Kartapolov said at a briefing for foreign military attaches and journalists.

The general recalled that three video conferences of Russian and US militaries had been held earlier. The conferences were dedicated to drafting a memorandum on prevention of incidents and ensuring safety of flights above Syria.

"This will ensure conditions to prevent specific situations that could create an incident in Syrian airspace during activities of the aviation of the Russian Federation and partners in the coalition. We are speaking for expansion of cooperation in that sphere and are open for contacts with all interested sides," Kartapolov said.

Earlier, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that during the third video conference, the sides managed to bring their positions closer and agree on the order of further activities.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes at facilities of the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria on September 30. The air group comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. Hundreds of terrorist facilities have been hit by Russian aircraft.

On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

Russia’s Armed Forces act on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Russian Federation does not plan to take part in ground operations in Syria.

According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011.

An international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, held in January and February 2014, brought no particular progress.

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