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U.S., Russia To Begin Talks On Military Activity In Syria

The U.S. and Russian militaries will hold talks on their activities against the Islamic State group in Syria, the Pentagon announced September 29.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has directed his staff to "open lines of communication with Russia," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

The announcement comes after U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in a meeting September 28 to hold military talks to avoid unintended clashes as both countries wage campaigns against IS in Syria.

Carter's order made it clear that the two nations have common ground when it comes to fighting IS. The talks are aimed at ensuring Russian military activity in Syria does not interrupt operations by U.S.-led coalition forces which have been regularly bombarding IS, Cook said.

The Pentagon also wants to ensure the safety of coalition aircrews. Details and timing of the conversations will be worked out in the coming days, Cook said.

Carter and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu already spoke once by phone 10 days ago following the arrival of four advanced Russian fighter jets at Syria's Latakia air base.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters