Cooperation is ongoing between Russia and the United States toward safeguarding the security of their troops stationed in Syria and preventing dangerous incidents, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik on Friday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 15th May, 2020) Cooperation is ongoing between Russia and the United States toward safeguarding the security of their troops stationed in Syria and preventing dangerous incidents, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik on Friday.
Syromolotov pointed to the joint statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Donald Trump issued on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam on November 11, 2017, as the document outlining the "fundamental understanding between Russia and the US in their fight against the Islamic State [IS, terrorist organization, banned in Russia]."
"In particular, the document has outlined the determination of the two countries to defeat the IS in Syria and continue efforts until the group is completely abolished," Syromolotov said.
He further cited Moscow and Washington as acknowledging in the document the importance of "maintaining military communication channels, or deconfliction communications, to ensure the security of Russian and US military."
"Such interaction is still ongoing and has made it possible to prevent dangerous incidents and continue the fight � of Russia on one front and the US and its allies on another � against the IS," Syromolotov said.
The armed conflict in Syria has been ongoing since 2011. In August 2015, Syrian President Bashar Assad asked Russia for military assistance in countering the armed opposition forces and terrorist organizations. The government forces regained control over most of territories by 2017, but terrorists have retained several strongholds located chiefly in the country's north.
The United States has been primarily cooperating with a group of Kurdish and Syrian opposition fighters, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. Last October, Trump ordered his troops to leave Syria, saying that their mission was accomplished, although part of the military has remained to guard the oil infrastructure in the northeast.
The epicenter of escalation is now the Idlib province, which was turned into a demilitarized zone under an agreement between Russia and Turkey in 2018. Per a memorandum of understanding, concluded by Ankara and Moscow last October, Turkish and Russian military conduct regular patrols in the area.