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U.S., Russia Near Accord On Air Safety Over Syria


The United States expects to reach agreement soon with Russia's military on air safety protocols in the skies above Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said October 13.

Russia's entry into Syria's civil war has stoked concerns about an accidental mishap between U.S. and Russian jets, with a half dozen near misses already having occurred.

The United States says it will not alter its air operations against Islamic State or cooperate by sharing intelligence with Moscow, given Russia's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But the Pentagon has agreed to work with Moscow on basic air safety procedures and keep a channel of communications open.

"Even as we continue to disagree on Syria policy, we should be able to at least agree on making sure our airmen are as safe as possible," Carter said.

U.S. proposals include maintaining a safe distance between U.S. and Russian aircraft and using common radio frequencies for distress calls.

Carter said a third round of talks between the U.S. and Russian militaries would be held October 14.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP
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