Russia, US hold military talks on Syria

  • 02/10/2015
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Reuters)

The Pentagon will launch talks with the Russian military in the coming hours to discuss ways to avoid mishaps between planes from the US-led coalition and Moscow, a defence official says.

The United States has repeatedly stressed the urgent need for Russia to communicate with it about when and where it plans to fly its fighter jets and bombers.

These discussions, known as "deconfliction," aim to eliminate the risk of planes from different forces inadvertently crossing paths.

"This is the start of the deconfliction talks," the defence official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The talks were due to begin on Thursday (local time) via video conference and include Elissa Slotkin, the US acting assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs.

Russia on Wednesday launched its first air strikes in Syria, which is in the grips of a brutal 4.5-year-old conflict that has claimed some 250,000 lives.

More strikes took place on Thursday (local time), with Russian warplanes hitting opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States leads a coalition that is carrying out near-daily strikes in Syria targeting Islamic State jihadists.

The Pentagon was riled after getting only one hour's vague "heads-up" from Russia that it was about to start bombing.