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Pentagon says no dialogue with Russia on joining forces in Syria

The Air Force chief says Pentagon is reviewing US-Russian memorandum on Syria

WASHINGTON, February 7. /TASS/. The US Department of Defense is not considering a possibility of joining forces with Russia in Syria, Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.

"I have not heard of any dialogue that leads us towards joining forces (with Russia)," he said.

According to Goldfein, the US has been focused on measures to "deconflict our operations."

Goldfein added that the US Russian speakers from the Combined Air Operations Center located at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar had been maintaining "a daily dialogue with Russian counterparts to ensure we deconflict operations."

He went on saying, "and the way I would describe deconfliction is - let me tell you where I’m planning to fly. Where are you planning to fly? How do we ensure that we maintain appropriate separation, so we don’t have a miscalculation. It’s as much of a safety dialogue as it is an operational dialogue."

"That is the level of our dialogue at this point, it’s very heavily focused on the deconfliction," the US Air Force Chief of Staff added. "And so that’s the direction we've been given now to execute."

The US Department of Defense and the new Defense Secretary James Mattis in particular has been reviewing the US-Russian memorandum on preventing incidents in Syrian airspace, he added. 

When asked if the new US administration was willing to enhance the memorandum, he said that "right now the Department of Defense and Secretary Mattis is doing an overall review like any new administration does coming in." "And so I think they’re taking a look at... all of the memorandums and directives that they now have inherited to see where they want to make any changes. So that review is going on right now," Goldfein added.