Moscow's operations in Syria can cause conflict between US, Russia air forces (exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 15
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Russia's airstrikes and its military and political support for government of Bashar al Assad in Syria is making a terrible situation more dangerous and more costly to the civilians who remain in the crossfire, Daryl Kimball, the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association (ACA) told Trend Oct. 15.
"There is now a high-risk of direct conflict between the US/NATO and Russian air forces," Kimball underlined.
The "Islamic State" (IS, also known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) appears to be gaining, not losing ground as a result of Russia's operations, and there is a chance of even greater escalation and involvement in the conflict by Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States, France and the UK, he added.
Russia, which began its air campaign in Syria Sept. 30, says its airstrikes are meant to weaken the IS group and other "terrorists," but Western officials and Syrian opposition say most of the strikes have focused on central and northern Syria, where the extremist group does not have a strong presence.
A US official told Reuters Oct. 15 that Washington and Moscow militaries are finalizing a memorandum of understanding that sets out basic air safety procedures in the skies above Syria . The parties hope that an agreement on air safety procedures can prevent an inadvertent clash over Syria as the former Cold War foes carry out parallel, uncoordinated campaigns of air strikes.
Kimball further said that there is an urgent need for a new, inclusive diplomatic process involving the principal governments involved, along with responsible Syrian opposition leaders, aimed at avoiding a further escalation of the fighting and producing a plan for ending the conflict completely.
While responding a question about the possible effects of the nuclear deal on ending Iran-West disputes over Syria, Kimball said that unfortunately, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA aka Iran nuclear deal) will not likely have any effect on resolving the Syrian crisis, which is getting worse as Russia increases its military support for Assad and as Daesh exploits the Russian attacks on rebel factions to expand its military position.
"However, the JCPOA does provide a very positive example of how long-time antagonists can resolve mutual concerns at the negotiating table rather than through military threats or military action."
The JCPOA should inspire fresh efforts to use diplomacy to bring an end to the fighting in Syria and to broker a power-sharing arrangement involving legitimate representatives of the different segments of the pre-war Syrian population, Kimball added.
Tehran and Moscow share the same stance towards Syria , supporting President Bashar al-Assad, Meanwhile the United States underlines that his regime has lost legitimacy.
The Islamic Republic views the Syrian regime as its main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel .
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