US and Russian air forces held a joint military drill over Syria on Tuesday in order to practise air safety measures for their aircraft.
The Russian defence ministry said in a statement, “There was a joint exercise with air crews and ground troops from the Russian and US air forces“.
He noted that during the exercises Russian and US-led coalition planes practiced close encounters in a specifically designated zone within a minimum distance of three aeronautical miles of each other.
“The exercises took place at 11:00 Moscow time (08:00 GMT) [on Tuesday],” he said, adding that during the exercises the crews from both sides also practiced communicating in Russian and English.
The joint maneuvers follow the recent signing of a “deconfliction” memorandum of understanding aimed at ensuring air safety over the war-ravaged country.
Since September 2014, members of the US-led coalition have been pounding purported terrorist positions inside Syria without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.
Russia launched its air campaign against the Daesh Takfiris in Syria on September 30 upon a request from Damascus.
Kartapolov confirmed that his country had bombed 24 targets in Syria using coordinates supplied by “opposition representatives.” He said that “terrorist” targets were hit in the vicinity of Palmyra, Deir Ezzor, Ithriya, and eastern Aleppo.“Since the start of the operation, our planes have made 1,631 sorties and hit 2,084 terrorists’ military infrastructure facilities.”
He also said that the Russian military has been communicating with some Syrian opposition groups, and that Russia had repeatedly announced its readiness to “cooperate with all Syrian patriotic forces” battling against Daesh in Syria.
“Such close cooperation will allow us to unite the efforts of the government troops with other patriotic forces in Syria that used to be in the opposition and act as a united front against the common enemy — international terrorism,” read a Russian defense ministry statement.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country’s goal is to battle terrorism in Syria and the rest of the world, and that Moscow is fully prepared to cooperate with everybody in this cause. “We are ready to cooperate with all forces who are countering terrorism, regardless of their religious denominations. And we are doing this work rather intensively,” he said in Moscow earlier in the day.