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The U.S. and Russia Are Planning Air Safety Talks After a Near-Miss in Syria

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As Russia continues to ramp up its military intervention in Syria, authorities in Moscow and Washington have planned talks on air safety protocol in the country to avert any accidental conflict. The dialogue, scheduled for Wednesday, comes in the wake of news that two fighter planes from Russia and the U.S. flew within miles of each other in Syrian airspace on Saturday, the BBC reported.

Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesperson for the U.S. military, told reporters that Russian aircraft have also repeatedly flown too close to U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles.

Pentagon officials have emphasized that the talks will not result in U.S. support for Russia’s activity in Syria. The BBC reports that U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has condemned the intervention, which began on Sept. 30 and has escalated in the past week, as “wrongheaded and strategically short-sighted.”

The Kremlin says that, at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, it is targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and other extremist operations, and has denied allegations that Russian air strikes have hit non-militant targets.

Wednesday’s talks will be the third attempt between the U.S. and Russia to reach a stable mutual agreement concerning the ongoing conflict in Syria, the BBC says.


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