04:29 GMT29 September 2020
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    The head of the US ground operation against Daesh terror group is now able to speak with his Russian counterpart through the two nations’ deconfliction line established for Syria, according to US Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The head of the US ground operation against Daesh terror group (outlawed in Russia) is now able to speak with his Russian counterpart through the two nations’ deconfliction line established for Syria, US Central Command commander Gen. Joseph Votel said in an interview published on Friday.

    "The deconfliction line that we have had in place and has become more robust over time, meaning that not only do our air components talk to each other but (Army Lt. Gen. Stephen) Townsend (in charge of the ground war against Daesh) now has the ability to talk to his counterpart," Votel told the Tampa Bay Times.

    The US Department of Defense has previously said that the United States and Russia use the memorandum of understanding for Syria to deconflict ground operations, but not that an officer of Townsend’s level was using the line.

    Votel stressed that the channel was a "very professional military to military interchange," and added that deconfliction itself was important in preventing escalation on the ground due to the number of players in the Syrian conflict, including Iran, Israel and Turkey.

    Townsend for his part said in March that the deconfliction line was important in quickly stopping an accidental Russian and Syrian government bombing of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near Al Bab.


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