The United States and Russia could in the next few days sign an agreement for air safety protocols in Syria, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday afternoon, citing a U.S. Defense Department official. Both the U.S. and Russia have been involved in the ongoing civil war in Syria, but each country supports different and at times conflicted sides in the multi-factional conflict.
Russia first launched airstrikes in Syria Sept. 30 that targeted troops fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The United States has been carrying out airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, in Syria since October 2014, and has tried to support rebel groups that oppose Assad.
"We are nearing completion of a memorandum of agreement that would set up procedures to enhance air safety," the official said, AFP reported. "It could be signed and implemented in the coming days," the official said.
It remained unclear what those procedures would be, although when the Defense Department announced in September that it would begin talks for what is known as "de-confliction" between the two countries, those efforts would aim to ensure "that ongoing coalition air operations are not interrupted by any future Russian military activity, to ensure the safety of coalition air crews, and to avoid misjudgment and miscalculation," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, Defense News reported. "We do not want an accident to take place," he said.