Russia and US to maintain hotline to prevent midair collisions over Syria

first_imgRussia and the United States will maintain a hotline aimed at preventing midair collisions over Syria despite earlier reports that Russia ended the pact in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, according to the Associated Press.The pact, by which the U.S. and Russia exchange information about airstrike operations in Syria, had been in place since September 2015.The U.S. missile strikes, launched late Thursday night from two U.S. Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea, were a response to a chemical weapon attack launched by the Syrian military against its own people earlier this week. The 59 Tomahawk missiles targeted a Syrian military airfield from which the chemical attack was believed to have originated. Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the U.S. missile strikes “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law” launched “under a far-fetched pretext.” He said “Washington’s move deals a significant blow to the Russia-U.S. relations, which are already in a deplorable shape.”Both the Syrian military and the Great Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll for the U.S. military strikes at seven.The Russian military, in its own statement, said it will aid Syria, a close ally, in bolstering its air defenses in the wake of the U.S. strike. A Russian military spokesman said “the combat efficiency of the U.S. strike was very low,” noting that six Syrian air force jets that were under repair were destroyed but other aircraft were not. The Russian spokesman said just 23 of the 59 U.S. missiles reached the targeted airbase. Also On POLITICO Europe rallies behind US over Syria air strikes By Saim Saeed, Ryan Heath and Gašper Završnik Syria calls US missile strikes ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ By POLITICOlast_img