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U.S., Russia Come To Agreement To Prevent Midair Mishaps Over Syria

The United States and Russia have come to an agreement that aims to prevent midair mishaps over Syria.

The memorandum of agreement calls for pilots to be "professional," to communicate over a designated frequency if necessary and to maintain a "safe distance" at all times.

Both countries are conducting a bombing campaign in Syria.

NPR's Michele Kelemen tells our Newscast unit that that the agreement does not ease American concerns over Russia's mission in the country. Michele filed this report:

"State Department Spokesman John Kirby says the agreement is meant to avoid accidents in the skies over Syria.

"'That will at least ensure the safety of coalition pilots and that's what this is designed to do,' Kirby said. 'It's not a treaty of cooperation or anything like that.'"

"Kirby says the U.S. and Russia are not coordinating their military operations in Syria. The U.S. has been targeting the Islamic State and though Russia says it is too, it is also propping the regime of Bashar Assad.

"The U.S. has been pushing for a political transition away from Assad and Kirby says Secretary of State John Kerry will be discussing that once again with his Russian counterpart later this week."

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