Russia, Turkey agree to ‘coordinate’ strikes in Syria: Moscow

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hand with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) during a press conference on October 10, 2016 in Istanbul. Putin visits Turkey on October 10 for talks with counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pushing forward ambitious joint energy projects as the two sides try to overcome a crisis in ties. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Moscow: Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement spelling out mechanisms to “coordinate” their air forces in Syria when conducting strikes “on terrorist targets”, the Russian defence ministry said today.

Delegations from the two countries, which last month brokered a ceasefire in war-torn Syria, met in Moscow today for consultations on cooperating while fighting Islamic State jihadists, signing a memorandum, the ministry said.

“The document defines the mechanisms to coordinate and cooperate by the Russian airforce and the Turkish airforce while carrying out strikes on terrorist targets as well as the actions by the sides to prevent incidents while planes and unmanned aerial vehicles are in Syrian airspace,” it said.

Moscow and Ankara agreed to back a ceasefire last month between the Syrian government and rebel groups which went into effect on December 30 and has been observed in vast parts of the country, though clashes have continued to rock areas near Damascus.

The fighting has notably damaged water infrastructure risking further military escalation, United Nation’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said earlier today, adding that meetings in Moscow and Ankara would be addressing the issue.

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