As the fight against the Islamic State terror group (IS, outlawed in Russia) advances, the conflict potential in Syrian airspace grows, General Herbert Carlisle, head of the US Air Combat Command, told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.
When asked if the United Stated and Russia needed to discuss deconfliction more, he said that “increased dialogue has got to happen because it’s going to become more and more complex as time goes on.” “As we continue to squeeze ISIS and continue to take more territory away from them, it becomes more complex,” he said.
According to him, “that’s one of the reasons I think [Lieutenant General] Steve Townsend [commander of the US campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria] and [Lieutenant General] Jeff Harrigian [top US Air Force commander in the Middle East] are talking about a greater dialogue with the Russians to try to prevent miscalculations or any potential conflicts.”
“To me, it makes sense – the deconfliction, the discussions. The more you can do that, the more you can build an understanding between folks that are flying in the same piece of airspace, the better off you’re going to be. So I support that,” Carlisle concluded.
The general also said that the Russian and Syrian militaries had stationed surface-to-air missile systems to protect important facilities. However, he noted that “they are not illuminating” the US “aircraft with any type of target tracking radars or anything like that in large numbers or to any great extent” though “their radars are active.”