Russia, US Sign Cooperation Deal on Syria Airstrikes
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Russia and the US have signed an agreement to regulate the operations of the two countries' air forces in Syria, as well as to prevent incidents and provide for the smooth operation of the two nations' aircraft.
The agreement on Tuesday, whose full name is "The Memorandum of Mutual Understanding between the Defense Ministries of Russia and the United States on preventing incidents and providing for aviation flights during operations in Syria" is hailed as a 'positive step', the Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release.
The document "has important practical value. It regulates the actions of manned and unmanned aircraft in the airspace above Syria. The Memorandum contains a set of rules and limitations aimed at preventing incidents between the air forces of Russia and the US," the Defense Ministry said, Russia Today reported.
As soon as the agreement comes into force, there will be 24/7 communication channels established between the Russian and American military commanders. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, its US counterparts have pledged to convey the agreement's details to their anti-ISIL coalition partners, so that they, too, follow the rules it sets.
The signing of the Memorandum "shows a high potential for cooperation between Russia and the US, including in the fight against terrorism".
However, the Russian Defense Ministry stresses that the Memorandum is strictly "military and technical" and it's signing does not change Russia's principal position, which is that "its military is acting in Syria at the request of the legitimate authorities, whereas the use of force in one country's territory by another country without its authorities' agreement or a ruling by the UN Security Council is against international law."
The memorandum signed both by Russia and the USA has already come into force, according to Pentagon. The document doesn’t suggest establishing cooperation zones or sharing intelligence information.
Russia has been conducting a campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Syria for three weeks now. Daily reports from the Defense Ministry indicate dozens of ISIL targets have been hit, including weapon and ammunition depots, supply and communication lines, headquarters and command posts. The bombing campaign has been timed together with the Syrian army's push against ISIL terrorists.
Meanwhile, the US-led coalition forces are carrying out bombing operations of their own – with Moscow blaming them for lacking a UN Security Council mandate or approval from Syria's legal authorities.