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US responsible for coalition members' air incidents in Syria — Russia FM

February 02, 14:02 UTC+3
According to Lavrov, the US is responsible for compliance with the memorandum on prevention of air incidents involving warplanes in Syria by all the countries of the coalition, including Turkey
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© EPA/INGO WAGNER
ABU DHABI, February 2. /TASS/. The United States is responsible for ensuring compliance with the memorandum on the prevention of air incidents involving combat aircraft in Syria by all the countries of the US-led coalition, including Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks with Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Abdullah Al Nahyan.

"From the very beginning we proposed to coordinate our actions to avoid the questions ‘who aims at the right targets and who does not," Lavrov said. "We proposed a joint and honest process, but our proposals have been invariably rejected. The only agreement with the United States is the memorandum on the prevention of air incidents. It applies to all members of the US-led coalition, so the United States bears responsibility for this - for ensuring the compliance with all the related procedures by all who flies there under the US command."

"This also applies to Turkey which periodically brings unfounded accusations, although it is the American coalition member and should observe the Russian-American memorandum," he said. "We have once again reminded the United States of this."

In October 2015, US and Russian military officials signed a memorandum of understanding that includes steps their pilots should take to avoid an inadvertent clash over Syria as they carry out separate air strikes against armed groups, the Pentagon reported. The issue of aircraft safety was raised after Russia started bombing targets in Syria in September. Russia conducts an operation against terrorists in Syria since September 30, 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The operation involves aircraft moved to the Khmeimim airbase in Syria, including the latest Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-35 bombers. In addition, Long Range Aviation planes have been delivering strikes against terrorists since the middle of November last year.

As of January 15, 2015, the Russian Aerospace Force had conducted 5,662 sorties, of which 145 had been handled by long-range bombers. In addition, some of the strikes using Kalibr cruise missiles had been delivered by Russian Navy ships from the Caspian and Mediterranean seas. Russia is not going to join the ground operation in Syria.

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