Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby reaffirmed that Washington wants to maintain the “deconfliction channel” with Moscow in Syria.
In a press briefing, Kirby declined on Monday to comment on Moscow’s deployment of aircraft in eastern Syria near US forces. He moved on to clarify that the US has a deconfliction channel with the Russians to “make sure that there isn’t miscalculation and unintended consequences.”
Kirby’s comments came in response to reports about Moscow deploying Su-35 fighter jets in the city of Qamishli, eastern Syria, near US forces.
Russian warplanes had staged maneuvers near the bases of the US army and Turkish forces deployed in northeastern Syria.
They flew over the southern countryside of Tal Abyad district in the city of Raqqa and conducted military maneuvers with live ammunition near points of contact with Turkish forces and Syrian opposition factions.
Military exercises over Tal Abyad came only a day after Russian and Syrian regime forces had staged drills over the countryside of the northern al-Hasakeh governorate.
Moscow has deployed eight Russian Su-35 aircraft at Tabqa airport, located in the western countryside of the Raqqa governorate, with the aim of carrying out military training and maneuvers for Syrian regime pilots.
This is the first time that the Russian Air Force has deployed Sukhoi combat aircraft in this region. Before, Russian forces in the area were limited to a few Mi-17 and Mi-25 helicopters and the air defense system at Qamishli airport.
The airspace of the abovementioned region has become overly crowded with air forces from three international parties that are the US-led International Coalition, Russia, and Turkey.
US warplanes are deployed at bases in al-Hasakeh, while Russian fighter jets are deployed at a large airbase situated near Qamishli’s airport and another one located in al-Tabaqa town.