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WASHINGTON, August 16 /TASS/. Russia has warned the United States that it is using an Iranian airfield for bombing the Islamic State’s positions in Syria, Colonel Christopher Garver, spokesman for the US-led international coalition, told journalists at a press briefing via teleconference held at the Pentagon building on Tuesday.
"What I will say is the Russians did notify the coalition as per the Memorandum of Understanding for safety of flight," Colonel Garver said.
"They activated that system, as we have in the past. They informed us they were coming through and we ensured safety of flight as those bombers passed through the area and toward their target and then when they passed out again. They did not impact coalition operations in either Iraq or Syria during the time," the US colonel emphasized.
"We knew in time when they activate the safety of flight memorandum of understanding instructions. It's not a lot of time, but it's enough, and it was enough time to make sure that we could ensure safety of flights," he added.
At the same time, Garver refused to comment on the Russian air strikes. "I 'm not going to talk about the specifics of their operations. You can ask them about that," he said.
"I'm not a spokesperson for the Russian military. And so I'll let them discuss their targets and what they hit and what they did when they were in Syria," Garver indicated.
"But we did know in time, as per the requirement in the safety of flight memorandum of agreement, and we were able to maintain that safety of flight during the entire incident," the US colonel went on to say.
"So, the first part, I will say, which is, it didn't impact our operations and it gave us enough time to react to make sure that the route in and the route out did not impact coalition operations," Colonel Garver stressed.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry told journalists that Russian Tu-22M3 and Su-34 bombers struck the IS (which is banned in Russia) facilities in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib after taking off from the Hamadan airfield in Iran. The ministry clarified that the bombers had destroyed five major ammunition depots, three command posts and three training camps, which the terrorists had used for carrying out operations near Aleppo.
It is the first time when Russian aircraft used an Iranian airfield for its operations in Syria. Previously, Russia’s long-range bombers used to take off from airfields in Russia; frontline bombers used the Hmeymim air base in Syria.