News / Middle East

    Pentagon Asks Russia to Avoid Parts of Syria to Protect US Forces

    FILE - Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander, U.S. Air Force Central Command, also says Moscow asked the U.S.-led coalition to stay away from some airfields in Syria that Russia’s military was using. "Typically, we don't fly there anyway," he said.
    FILE - Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander, U.S. Air Force Central Command, also says Moscow asked the U.S.-led coalition to stay away from some airfields in Syria that Russia’s military was using. "Typically, we don't fly there anyway," he said.

    The Pentagon has asked Russia to stay away from parts of northern Syria to protect U.S. Special Operations Forces there, according to military officials.

    The acknowledgment shows a level of cooperation with Russia despite the Pentagon's repeated insistence that it is not coordinating with Moscow. Both have been managing air campaigns over Syria for months.

    Lieutenant General Charles Brown, the leader of U.S. Air Force Central Command, which overseas bombing and air surveillance against Islamic State fighters in the Middle East, told reporters Thursday via teleconference that Moscow was asked to avoid "broad areas" in Syria "to maintain a level of safety” for the approximately 50 U.S. special operators helping local forces who are fighting IS.

    “It was a reasonable request to make,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters.

    Cook said the Pentagon request had “so far been honored” by the Russians.

    An image grab made from a video released Oct. 5, 2015, by the Russian Defense Ministry reportedly shows a Russian aircraft dropping bombs during an airstrike against Islamic State group's positions at an undisclosed location in Syria.
    An image grab made from a video released Oct. 5, 2015, by the Russian Defense Ministry reportedly shows a Russian aircraft dropping bombs during an airstrike against Islamic State group's positions at an undisclosed location in Syria.

    Brown added that Moscow had requested the U.S.-led coalition stay away from some airfields in Syria that Russia’s military was using in its air campaign.

    "Typically, we don't fly there anyway, so that hasn't been an issue," he said.

    The United States has led an international coalition against Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria since mid-2014.

    Russia entered the Syria conflict nearly five months ago. Moscow says it has been targeting the Islamic State group and “other terrorists,” but the U.S. and international rights groups say Moscow mostly has bombed civilians and rebels fighting embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    FILE - Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan near Idlib, Syria.
    FILE - Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan near Idlib, Syria.

    Russia and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding last October that provided a framework for both countries' aircraft to maintain a "safe distance" from one another while operating over Syria.

    Cook said the Russians requested that the full agreement, which covers all types of manned and unmanned aircraft over Syria, not be shared publicly. 


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: PermReader
    February 20, 2016 7:22 AM
    " Parts of Syria" for 50 men? Media writes about "secret" place that are sent to Moscow. The great secret, the great trust.

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    February 19, 2016 12:54 AM
    Everywhere IS has been there is nothing left behind but rubble, and paths through the rubble that look like streets.

    by: Anonymous
    February 18, 2016 10:58 PM
    What is the difference between a report like this and a handout from the Pentagon? Approximately zero. You might try something called journalism. Ever heard of it?

    by: AHMED from: INDIA
    February 18, 2016 8:48 PM
    USA can create problems for Syrians but cannot solve their day to day problems of water, food and shelters.
    What is the use to create one more Terrorist Group of Daesh/IS. This is very sad affairs in Syria. Who will rebuild Syria, who will Finance and When?
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 19, 2016 7:06 AM
    [Look for it?] .. The (deal) has been made, and the bargain accepted between the Russians and Iran, and the US, NATO, and the Sunni Muslim kingdoms and Emirates? .. The Russians and Iran, and the US, NATO, and Sunni Muslim kingdoms and Emirates have agreed that the Syrians will give up land for a patrolled independent no fly zone in northern Syria (like in Ukraine) where the terrorist/rebels have a safe haven to go to, protected by the US and their allies? .. That's why Russia told Assad to shut up about fighting till all the terrorists were removed from all of Syria? .. Syria loses land like Ukraine lost land, and Russia and the US and NATO saved face?

    The Russians like the Iranians will get their sanctions and embargos lifted, while the Syrians and Ukraine losses land, and peace will have been restored between Russia and the west, while the terrorists will still be a world power and continuing to attack everybody everywhere? .. As for the innocent Syrians, Iraqis, and Kurds? .. That'll be decided at some other time, after Obama leaves office? .. Look for it?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora