… from Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: Lost in the ISIL war news and the tragic Russian place crash in Egypt was some important momentum from the Vienna meeting on the Syria war.
Not the least of this was the joint air forces drill between the US and Russia, an important sign that despite the key differences remaining in reaching a negotiated settlement of Syria they could demonstrate to the world they were taking measures that would hopefully keep it from getting worse.
That could be needed as some of the US coalition allies are suspects in the Russian plane downing as punishment for Russian intercession, despite being at Syrian invitation, as that has put the kabosh on the Saudis’ plans to defeat Syria in a war of attrition like it is doing with the weaker Yemen.
Russia has also been in contact with more “opposition groups”, even getting some ISIL targeting information from them used to launch strikes. This kind of growing cooperation will result in more military force being focused on ISIL forces. As their lines are compacted the tide of the battle could pick up.
Outside supplies from Turkey and Saudi Arabia become will be harder to get delivered as more air strikes can be put onto these convoys. And if the big airbase SE of Aleppo is retaken this week we could see that quickly becoming an advanced facility for close air support.
I am still thinking that the Russians have more MI-24 helicopters on their ships off shore as more will be needed for the Aleppo push. The contingent brought in was primarily for their main base security, and has only been used in combat strikes sparingly… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … November 04, 2015 –
The Russian and US air forces have held a joint drill over Syria to practice air safety measures for their aircraft, the Russian defense ministry said.
“There was a joint exercise with air crews and ground troops from the Russian and US air forces,” said Russian General Staff spokesman Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov on Tuesday.
He noted that during the exercises Russian and US-led coalition planes practiced close encounters in a specifically designated zone within a minimum distance of three aeronautical miles of each other.
“The exercises took place at 11:00 Moscow time (08:00 GMT) [on Tuesday],” he said, adding that during the exercises the crews from both sides also practiced communicating in Russian and English.
The joint maneuvers follow the recent signing of a “deconfliction” memorandum of understanding aimed at ensuring air safety over the war-ravaged country.
Since September 2014, members of the US-led coalition have been pounding purported terrorist positions inside Syria without any authorization from the Syrian government or a UN mandate.
Russia launched its air campaign against the Daesh Takfiris in Syria on September 30 upon a request from Damascus.
Kartapolov confirmed that his country had bombed 24 targets in Syria using coordinates supplied by “opposition representatives.” He said that “terrorist” targets were hit in the vicinity of Palmyra, Deir Ezzor, Ithriya, and eastern Aleppo.“Since the start of the operation, our planes have made 1,631 sorties and hit 2,084 terrorists’ military infrastructure facilities.”
He also said that the Russian military has been communicating with some Syrian opposition groups, and that Russia had repeatedly announced its readiness to “cooperate with all Syrian patriotic forces” battling against Daesh in Syria.
“Such close cooperation will allow us to unite the efforts of the government troops with other patriotic forces in Syria that used to be in the opposition and act as a united front against the common enemy — international terrorism,” read a Russian defense ministry statement.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country’s goal is to battle terrorism in Syria and the rest of the world, and that Moscow is fully prepared to cooperate with everybody in this cause. “We are ready to cooperate with all forces who are countering terrorism, regardless of their religious denominations. And we are doing this work rather intensively,” he said in Moscow earlier in the day.