A Hotline for Americans and Russians to Avoid Catastrophe in Syrian Skies

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From The New York Times:

“Not long after the government-held city of Palmyra in central Syria fell to Islamic State fighters, the United States and Russia both scrambled warplanes on Wednesday to attack militant targets there.

This was exactly the kind of scenario the Pentagon feared after Moscow sent fighter jets and troops to Syria in the summer of 2015 to bail out the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad: Russian and American fighters streaking toward each other in Syrian air space, raising the danger of a midair catastrophe.

But it is also why the two countries, despite their disputes over how to calm the Syrian civil war, as well as over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, last year set up a special hotline to help prevent disasters in the air.

And that is why Col. Daniel Manning was on the phone here early Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, who was at an air base in Latakia, Syria, for what has become a three-times-a-week call to head off, or “deconflict,” as the military says, any potential problems in the skies over Syria.”

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