Russian, US Defence Ministries Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents

Presence of different aircraft in the air space of Syria has increased recently

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

Recently, the presence of different aircraft in the air space of Syria has increased. These are civil airliners, military transport aircraft, combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles of different size including strike ones.

It is to be particularly mentioned that the Russian air group coordinates every flight with the Syrian service for air traffic control. All the other manned and unmanned aircraft with the exception of the civil airliners are present in the Syrian air space without any accordance and with their transponders switched-off.

It is not infrequent that there are over 30 aircraft in one area at the same time.  Undoubtedly, all that creates risks for aviation in the skies over Syria.

The Russian Ministry of Defence has repeatedly expressed its readiness to cooperate in the field of flight safety with all the states interested in the early elimination of the international terrorism in Syria.

It is to be reminded that the Military departments of Russia and Turkey have organized a direct hot line for prevention of unintentional air incidents in the sky of Syria. Moreover, such format of cooperation is active between the Command centre of the Israeli Air Force and the Flight control centre of the Russian Air Force in Syria.

Just this morning, the Russian Ministry of Defence has received the adopted memorandum from the American colleagues concerning the prevention of air incidents in the Syrian Arab Republic.

It is expected that the document will cover the activities of aviation of all the countries of the anti-ISIS coalition. The American party committed to notifying the adopted rules to their partners, which conduct activities in the territory of Syria.

The Russian Ministry of Defence considers the signing of such document an important step of great practical importance.

That is why the Russian Ministry of Defence considers it necessary to continue the joint work on resolve other important questions.

That includes first of all organization of operational cooperation in rescuing any pilots from any country in case of emergency in the sky of Syria. It will not be the matter of hours, but the one of minutes and seconds. Lives of people will depend on coordinated actions within such operations.

Unfortunately, the severity of the question is not understood by the American colleagues.

Russian and US Defence Ministries signed Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents in the course of operations in the Syrian Arab Republic

Statement on the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Department of Defense of the United States of America on the Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents in the course of operations in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Department of Defense of the United States of America on the Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents in the course of operations in the Syrian Arab Republic is considered to be a positive step.

This document is of considerable practical importance. It regulates operations of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles in the air space over Syria. The Memorandum contains a range of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between the military aircraft of Russia and the United States.

Upon its entry into force, this agreement will ensure establishing lines of 24-hour operational communication between the military headquarters of Russia and the United States and mechanisms of interaction, including provision of mutual assistance in case of emergency. The US side has undertaken to inform all other members of the Counter-ISIL Coalition led by the United States of the agreed rules and the Coalition members’ aircrews will adhere to these arrangements.

To facilitate activities identified in the Memorandum and solve any problem arising from its implementation special military representatives will be appointed by both sides.

It is necessary to emphasize that the MOU signed is purely of military-technical nature. Surely, the Russian side was seeking agreement that is more substantial. That is why a number of specific proposals aimed at deepening military cooperation between Russian and US militaries in countering international terrorism was put forward. For example, the American counterparts were requested to provide specific infomation concerning IS targets in Syria. Russian MoD was ready after necessary crosschecking to launch air strikes against them. However, the response from Washington was negative.

Russian negotiators also insisted on closer interaction in situations of aircraft shootdown or emergency landing. Joint aircrews’ search and rescue operations were proposed. The idea was not supported either.

Russian Defence Ministry had some more initiatives.

The last but not the least. The signing of the document in no way changes the Russian position of principle, whose military forces in Syria are operating at the request of legitimate authorities of that country. While projection of force of the United States and the Counter-ISIL coalition led by Washington on the territory of Syria without the consent of Damascus and in the absence of relevant UN Security Council resolution represents negligence of the international law.


Syria in the Last 24 Hours