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Oct 7, 2015

As Russia escalates, U.S. rules out military cooperation in Syria

ROME (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria’s war, accusing Moscow of pursuing a “tragically flawed” strategy that would force it to limit military talks to basic pilot safety.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s critique amounted to a rebuff of Russia, which had sought greater coordination as Moscow escalates its military role in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Oct 6, 2015

Russia, US move to resume talks on air-to-air conduct over Syria

NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Russia
moved on Tuesday to resume military talks with the United States
aimed at setting rules for air-to-air conduct over Syria, a U.S.
official said, as the former Cold War foes carry out parallel,
uncoordinated campaigns of air strikes.

The discussions on ways to keep the U.S. and Russian
aircraft from clashing over Syria, launched last week, have
gained urgency after the United States and NATO denounced Russia
for violating Turkish airspace.

Oct 6, 2015

Break silence on air-to-air rules of conduct: U.S. to Russia

MORON AIR BASE, Spain (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called on Moscow on Tuesday to urgently respond to proposed rules for air-to-air conduct over Syria, as he condemned Russia’s “seriously irresponsible and unprofessional” violation of Turkish air space.

The United States and Russian militaries held a secure video conference last week in which Pentagon officials suggested protocols aimed at preventing a mishap, as the former Cold War foes carry out rival campaigns of air strikes in Syria.

Oct 6, 2015

US to Russia: Break silence on air-to-air rules of conduct

MORON AIR BASE, Spain, Oct 6 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense
Secretary Ash Carter called on Moscow on Tuesday to urgently
respond to proposed rules for air-to-air conduct over Syria, as
he condemned Russia’s “seriously irresponsible and
unprofessional” violation of Turkish air space.

The United States and Russian militaries held a secure video
conference last week in which Pentagon officials suggested
protocols aimed at preventing a mishap, as the former Cold War
foes carry out rival campaigns of air strikes in Syria.

Oct 4, 2015

U.S. military says need time to probe battle near Afghan hospital

MADRID (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter pledged on Sunday a full, transparent investigation into whether the U.S. military could be linked to the destruction of an Afghan hospital run by aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) that killed 22 people.

But Carter, as he embarked on a trip to Europe, cautioned that the situation on the ground was confused, investigators were not at the scene, and it would time to gather facts in the Afghan city of Kunduz, the site of fierce fighting.

Oct 2, 2015

U.S. weighs new support for Syrian rebels against Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is considering extending support to thousands of Syrian rebel fighters, possibly with arms and air strikes, to help them push Islamic State from a strategic pocket of Syrian territory along the Turkish border, U.S. officials say.

U.S. backing for the plan would come as moderate rebels in Syria, some trained and backed by the United States, say they have been targeted by Russian air strikes, raising tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Oct 2, 2015

U.S. seen unlikely to defend Syrian rebels from Russian strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Already out-gunned and out-manned in Syria’s civil war, U.S.-backed rebels are facing a new and possibly even more serious threat to their survival: Russian air strikes that Washington appears reluctant to thwart.

The Obama administration – blindsided by the speed of Moscow’s direct intervention and a Russian target list that included CIA-trained fighters – made clear on Thursday that the it had no desire to increase the risk of an air clash between the former Cold War foes.

Oct 1, 2015

Syria and Ukraine: two fronts in Russian war for influence

BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia’s air strikes in Syria are in part designed to extract concessions from the West over Ukraine by making Moscow a key player in any attempts by world powers to hammer out a post-conflict settlement in Damascus, some Western officials believe.

While the Syrian capital lies 1,800 miles (3,000 km) south of Kiev, for Russian President Vladimir Putin they are two fronts in the same war that is aimed at blocking Ukraine’s European integration, some EU, U.S. and NATO officials say.

Oct 1, 2015

Russia begins Syria air strikes in its biggest Mideast intervention in decades

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, plunging the four-year-old civil war into a volatile new phase as President Vladimir Putin moved forcefully to stake out influence in the unstable region.

Moscow’s assertion that it had hit Islamic State militants was immediately disputed by the United States and rebels on the ground. The attacks also raised the dangerous specter of Washington and Moscow running air strikes concurrently and in the same region, but without coordination.

Sep 30, 2015

U.S., Russia press rival air campaigns over crowded Syrian skies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The scene in Baghdad was like something out of a movie: A Russian general appeared at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, warning America to clear the skies in neighboring Syria. Russia’s bombing was about to begin.

But the United States defied Moscow’s warning, officials said, despite concerns about the safety of American air crews, who fly at high speed through Syria’s limited airspace to strike Islamic State targets.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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