Izvestia, August 23, 2016, p. 4
Due to growing activeness of the Syrian aviation Russia proposed an initiative of creation of a mechanism for prevention of incidents between the air force of Syria and American aviation participating in Inherent Resolve operation.
RUSSIA PROPOSED AN INITIATIVE ABOUT PREVENTION OF INCIDENTS BETWEEN SYRIAN AIR FORCE AND AMERICAN AVIATION
Due to growing activeness of the Syrian aviation Russia proposed an initiative of creation of a mechanism for prevention of incidents between the air force of Syria and American aviation participating in Inherent Resolve operation, a source in the military diplomatic community reported. It is planned to discuss the initiative drawn in the form of technical proposals at the meeting of foreign ministers of Russia and the US to be held between August 26 and 27. Chair of the defense committee of the Duma Vladimir Komoedov announced that all parties concerned had to think about creation of a joint staff for control over the aerial situation in the region.
– A joint staff for control over the aerial situation in the region with permanent presence of representatives of all forces that participate in combat operations could be the most working option. In any case, it is necessary to come to agreement first who flies where, to divide the territory into sectors, to decide which forces and means will be used in the region and there should be coordination. It is necessary to sit down at a table of negotiations and to answer the main question who is the enemy and who is not.
According to the source, initiative of the Defense Ministry appeared because after transfer of Su-24M2 bombers to Damascus and return of other aircraft from repair activeness of the Syrian air force grew significantly. However, increase of the quantity of sorties is dangerous because of possible incidents because Syrians do not have such a channel of communication with the Americans like, for example, Russian servicemen.
Last Thursday, fighters of the US air force were sent to intercept a couple of Syrian Su-24M2 that were bombing positions of the Kurd militia in the area of Al-Hasakah in the northeast of Syria. According to Pentagon, American advisors from forces of special operations who helped the Kurds suffered as a result of the raid. Later, new commander of American forces in Iraq General Steven Townsend warned Moscow and Damascus that the US would defend its servicemen in case of raids at the areas where they operated.
The source explains that one of the options for solving of this problem is inclusion of Syrians into the agreement on coordination of actions that already exists between Russia and the US.
The staff of Inherent Resolve operation could not provide a quick comment about the rules for situations of such kind. However, according to mass media, during the recent incidents in Al-Hasakah area Americans contacted Russian servicemen first and only after they made sure that the bombers belonged to the air force of Syria they sent interceptors. It is impossible to rule out that the measures proposed by Moscow for prevention of incidents may be discussed at negotiations of Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry that should take place between August 26 and 27 in Geneva.