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Russia applauds memorandum with U.S. on safe flight operations over Syria

Russia's Defense Ministry on Tuesday applauded the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States on safe flight operations over Syria.

The memorandum contains a set of rules that regulates all aircraft including drones to avoid a mid-air incident, the ministry said in an online press release.

Describing the MOU as being of "great practical importance," the ministry said "the signing shows high potential for cooperation between Russia and the United States, including anti-terrorism operation, which we are ready to expand and deepen."

In Washington, Pentagon also reported that the two countries had signed the memorandum of understanding.

The MOU did not establish any military cooperation between the two in Syria; neither did it include intelligence sharing or any sharing of target information in Syria, said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook here at a briefing.

Russia said once the deal enters into force, communication channels will be established between the two's military authorities.

It also called for more coordination with the U.S. side on necessary rules of pilot rescue operations in case of "any force majeure" over Syrian airspace.

However, the Defense Ministry noted that the agreement did not signal broader agreement with the U.S. airstrikes in Syria which Russia says are illegal.

Moscow reiterated that the U.S.-led coalition carried out airstrikes in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government or legal resolutions made by the United Nations Security Council.

Starting from Sept. 30, Russia has been launching airstrikes against IS targe in Syria in response to a request from Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

The latest data released earlier by the ministry showed 60 targets of the IS and al-Nusra Front were destroyed during the 55 sorties of Russian air forces in the last 24 hours.

The ministry noted that Syrian intelligence information showed a large number of foreign mercenaries arriving in Syria's Idlib province to join terrorist ranks.

Moreover, the ministry dismissed media reports that Russian soldiers were killed in Syria's coastal city of Latakia.

"Due to reports of foreign media about the alleged deaths of Russian servicemen in Syria, we declare that there are no casualties among members of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria," the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, western media reported three Russian soldiers were killed during militant groups' shelling on the Jabal Younes area in the countryside of Latakia, where the Russian air forces are stationing.

Russian embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus told Xinhua that it had no knowledge of any information on such claims, saying those allegations were circulated by some activist groups.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 20Oct15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 21Oct15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.