American fighter-bomber F/A-18 Super Hornet

© REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

TASS-FILE. On 19 June the defense Ministry announced the termination of cooperation with the US in the framework of the Memorandum between the US and Russia on the prevention of incidents and ensuring the safety of aviation operations in Syria.

The Memorandum was signed on October 20, 2015 between the ministries of defence of Russia and the United States and entered into force the same day. The full text of the document was not published.

The conclusion of this document was prompted by the need to adopt measures to minimize the risk of incidents between aircraft of the Russian Federation and the international coalition headed by the USA over the territory of Syria. The US and its allies without the sanction of the UN Security Council from September 2014 strike in Syria targets of terrorists . Videoconferencing at the request of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out on September 30, 2015 operation against terrorist groups “Islamic state” and “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” (both banned in Russia).

The contents of the document

Memorandum was developed on the initiative of the Russian side, reglamentary operation HQs and the international coalition led by the United States in the airspace over Syria. It applies to all types of aircraft, including unmanned (except aircraft of the armed forces of Syria). The U.S. side pledged to carry through agreed rules to all participants-led coalition.

See also

Ryabkov: the US attack on the fighter with the Syrian air force – an act of aggression and support for terrorists

The document defined the mechanism of interaction of the parties, including mutual assistance in the event of emergency situations, specified the rules to be followed by the crews of aircraft. In particular, as stated by 20 October 2015, the press Secretary of the Pentagon Peter cook, pilots should maintain a safe distance in the air and use specific communication frequencies. Also provides for the establishment of lines of communication on land that may be involved between the military, if for some reason the communication in the air be obstructed. The document does not involve “the formation of zones of co-operation, exchange of intelligence information, exchange of information about the targets in Syria”.

According to cook, the signing of the Memorandum does not mean “Washington’s support for Moscow’s policy on the Syrian track”. The defense Ministry, in turn, stressed that the document was a purely military-technical character, and his signing does not change the principled position of Russia in relation to the fact that “the use by one state on the territory of another state without the consent of its government or in the absence of a UN security Council decision is inconsistent with international law”.

Later, according to the Memorandum between the military command centers of the US and Russia, located on the air force base, al-Udeid air base in Qatar and Hamim at the airbase in Syria, a connection was made. 30 Oct the chief of the Main operations Directorate of the General staff Andrey Kartapolov stated that Russia and the US “directly to discuss the security issues in the Syrian airspace twice a day, or more often if urgent necessity”.

The termination of the document from the Russian Federation

After 24 November 2015 in Syria, a Russian front-line bomber su-24M was shot down by Turkish fighter F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the US Secretary of state John Kerry is in gross violation of the Memorandum, in view of the fact that “the United States has assumed responsibility for compliance with applicable rules by all parties-led coalition”.

On 7 April 2017, after the missile strike, the U.S. military base at Shayrat in the Syrian province of HOMS, Russia suspended the Memorandum. However, as stated on 26 April 2017 chief of the Main operations Directorate of the General staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation Sergey rudskoy, the military of Russia and the United States maintained direct contacts at the working level.

In April and may, Russian officials repeatedly declared its readiness to restore the performance of the obligations in accordance with the document. But on may 18, 2017, the air force of the international coalition headed by the USA attacked by squads of Pro-government forces in Syria, which operated within the specified zone, de-escalate North-West of the city of al-TANF. As stated by the head of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Slutsky, “such actions say about the unpredictability of the American partners, which complicates the process of negotiations on the Syrian settlement, including the agreement on the full resumption of the Memorandum”.

18 Jun 2017 American fighter-bomber F/A-18E has shot down a Syrian fighter-bomber su-22, which emphasized the command of the armed forces of Syria, “was involved in operations against the terrorist group ISIS”. According to Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, “Moscow considers the U.S. attack on air force fighter Syria an act of aggression and support for terrorists”. On 19 June followed by a statement of the defense Ministry on the termination of the Memorandum.