Nato blasts Russia over airspace incursions

A Turkish government official confirmed yesterday that Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov was called to the ministry on Monday afternoon to hear Turkish officials lodge a “strong protest” over the second infringement.

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Moscow says it will work to avert potential mishaps between Russian and U.S. pilots flying missions over Syria, Pentagon officials say.

“But at the same time we really have an all-weather partnership which is based on solid economic and trade foundation”, said political analyst Sergey Strokan.

During the meeting, he reiterated that Russia is very careful in its targeting in Syria, and rejected accusations that Russian jets had struck any civilian targets in the city of Palmyra.

Antonov said his ministry was ready to establish different types of working groups with any interested country to prevent new problems similar to the Russian aircraft’s violation of Turkish airspace.

“The impression is that the incident in Turkish air space was used to plug NATO as an organisation into the information campaign waged by the West to distort the aims of the operations carried out by the Russian air force in Syria“, Alexander Grushko was quoted as telling reporters in Brussels.

The Pentagon has repeatedly stressed Russia’s involvement in Syria would not alter continued air strikes against Islamic State jihadists there and in Iraq as part of a coalition of more than 60 nations. Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, has hit Western-backed rebels fighting Assad.

On Saturday, Russian jets smashed nine ISIS outposts in the space of just 24 hours using bunker-busting bombs.

“The Russian intervention has certainly made things more complicated, but that doesn’t get us away and shouldn’t detract us from our main focus, which is on dealing with Isil,” he said.

The Russian airstrikes appear to have emboldened Syrian troops to launch a ground offensive after suffering a string of setbacks in northwestern Syria over the past few months.

A USA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Moscow had agreed on Tuesday to resume talks with the United States aimed at settling rules for air-to-air conduct over Syria.

In an emotional address, Russia’s Foreign Ministry reminded Washington how it supported the U.S.in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It has also deployed temporary housing units, a portable air traffic control station and components for an air defence system.

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But the Russian leader added that “since (the Free Syrian Army) is supposed to be the combat unit of the so-called healthy opposition, it would create good conditions for a political settlement in Syria if they could join forces against the common enemy, terrorists, the Islamic State, the Nusra Front and others”.

Syria's skies crowded with multiple air forces