Reuters reports: U.S. and Russian defense chiefs spoke for the first time in over a year on Friday, breaking their silence to discuss the crisis in Syria as Moscow’s increasing military buildup there raised the prospect of coordination between the former Cold War foes.
The Pentagon said the call lasted about 50 minutes and included an agreement for further U.S.-Russian talks about ways to keep their respective militaries out of each other’s way, something known as “deconfliction” in military parlance.
The United States fiercely opposes Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Pentagon last year cut off high-level military talks with Moscow after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in Ukraine.
But Russia’s buildup at Syria’s Latakia airbase raises the possibility of simultaneous U.S. and Russian air combat missions in Syrian airspace.
Heavy Russian equipment such as tanks and helicopters, as well as naval infantry forces, have recently been moved to Latakia, an Assad stronghold, U.S. officials say. [Continue reading…]