The United States and Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes air safety measures so pilots from the two countries steer clear of each other as they conduct separate bombing campaigns, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
“With today’s signatures, the memorandum of understanding is now in effect,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters. “That was signed a short time ago, earlier today.”
Separately, Russian media reported that the memorandum had been signed by officials in Moscow and the United States.
“The memorandum contains a number of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between American and Russian plans,” Deputy Defense Minister, Anatoly Antonov said, according to Ria-Novosti.
Russia asked for “deconfliction” talks with the United States after Moscow began bombing Syria on September 30.
The United States is leading a 60-plus member coalition targeting Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in Iraq and Syria and has been carrying out frequent raids for more than a year.
Russia also claims to be targeting ISIS, but the West has revealed the strikes are focusing on rebels fighting government forces loyal to
President Bashar al-Assad, and not ISIS.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Tuesday that of the 370 people killed in the Russian strikes since they began 20 days ago, only 52 are from ISIS – 127 are civilians, including 36 children and 34 women.