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    US, Russian Airstrikes Have ‘Minimal’ Danger of Miscalculation

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    The chances of miscalculation by the United States and Russia during airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria are low, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized airstrikes against the ISIL at the request of the Syrian government. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that it carried out some 20 combat missions in Syria striking at least eight ISIL targets.

    "To the extent that the airstrikes from both Russia and the US are against a common set of targets, the danger of miscalculation is probably minimal given that ISIS [Islamic State] does not have any air assets," retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Carl Baker said on Wednesday.

    Baker added the problem of miscalculation could possibly occur if one party attacks targets, which the other party sees as "friendly, or at least not hostile."

    "Even then, the threat of operational miscalculation is probably minimal, as long as there is political agreement to avoid confronting other air assets in the interest of eliminating ISIS, while avoiding the question of eliminating the Assad regime."

    Baker said the only real operational risk would be if coalition forces accidentally hit Russian assets on the ground or an accidental encounter occurs due to poor air traffic control in the result of lack of coordination.

    The former US officer added that deconfliction talks between Moscow and Washington would reduce the risk of operational miscalculation "assuming both sides provide accurate information."

    "The primary risk is political and centered around the perceived appropriateness of the target set for both sides," he concluded.

    Former US ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union, Stephen Sestanovich, told Sputnik that the United States has no desire to begin a military conflict with Russia, however, Washington would not coordinate with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    "American officials want no clash with Russia, but they are not going to coordinate with the Syrian government or military."

    On Wednesday, US State Secretary John Kerry said after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that deconfliction talks between US and Russian militaries may be held as soon as Thursday.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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