On Wednesday U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter denied claims made by Russia’s Defense Ministry about developing a new agreement with the Pentagon over coordinating flights in Syria.
Yesterday two major Russian state run media agencies, TASS and RT, and this website reported new comments from Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov who said the Russian Defense Ministry responded to the Pentagon’s request and promptly considered the American proposal on coordination of actions in the framework of the fight against the terror group ISIS.
“The Americans have handed us a document, which we are working on. The general staff supports the document in principle,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said, quoted by Russian agency TASS.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter was in in Sigonella, Italy on Wednesday to meet with Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti.
During their press conference, Secretary Carter rejected earlier Russian claims about coordinating flights with the United States over Syrian airspace.
“Despite what the Russians say, we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia, so long as they continue to pursue mistaken strategy and hit these targets” Secretary Carter said.
“What we will do is continue basic, technical discussions on professional safety procedures for our pilots flying about Syria. That’s it.” Carter explained.
He remarked that the United States would “keep the channels open” because it’s a matter of security and safety for our pilots and later spoke about a fundamental strategic disagreement with Russia.
For the first time on Wednesday, the United States had to divert two U.S. aircraft over Syria to ensure that they could maintain a safe distance from a Russian fighter aircraft flying in the same area, said Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.
Today U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will be in Brussels, Belgium for a meeting with Nato defense ministers.
Russia’s latest air operations and military buildup in the region since September 30th is expected to be a major agenda topic.
Nato will also hold a military committee conference in Istanbul, Turkey from September 11-12th.
Yesterday the Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing cruise missiles launched from its warships on the Caspian Sea that reportedly hit their ISIS targets in Syria.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that four Russian navy ships in the Caspian Sea fired 26 missiles at 11 Islamic state targets.
All of the targets were reportedly destroyed.
Russia also provided some aerial support for Syrian government and Hezbollah forces making a ground assault on anti-Assad insurgent groups in the Hama Province which has become known as a center of the anti-Ba’ath Party opposition in Syria.
Some of the targeted insurgents in the attacks includes moderate U.S. insurgent groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army that are fighting alongside more radicalized Islamist groups such as Al-Nursa Front, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, which the U.S. doesn’t support.
Russia considers all of these insurgent groups to be terrorist groups.