US and Russia discuss flight safety over Syria

28 January 2016 (Last Updated January 28th, 2016 18:30)

Defence officials from the US and Russia have discussed flight safety over Syrian airspace.

Defence officials from the US and Russia have discussed flight safety over Syrian airspace.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) press secretary Peter Cook said: "The two sides discussed measures to enhance operational safety for counter-ISIL coalition and Russian military forces operating in Syria, including the means to avoid accidents and unintended confrontation between coalition and Russian forces whenever the two sides operate in close proximity.

"The conversation was constructive and the two sides agreed to continue safety discussions in this format in the future,"

"The agreement is aimed at minimising the risk of in-flight incidents among coalition and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian airspace."

The discussion was held under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on air safety in Syria, signed between the countries in October 2015.

The agreement is aimed at minimising the risk of in-flight incidents among coalition and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian airspace.

The agreement covers a wider scope of specific safety protocols for aircrews to follow, such as maintaining professional airmanship at all times, the use of specific communication frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground.

However, the agreement does not establish areas of cooperation, intelligence sharing or any sharing of target information in Syria.

Currently, both the US-led coalition and Russia conduct independent aerial campaign in Syria against the Islamic State.

Unlike Russia, the US is supported by a coalition of 65 partners in its efforts.

The coalition nations including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK among others, have conducted air strikes in Syria.