In an ongoing effort to avoid mishaps between forces, U.S. and Russian commanders in Syria are staying in close contact, especially as the competing proxy forces both nations support close on each other and tighten the battle space.

“Military contacts are quite intensive, [going] at different levels,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, adding that military-to-military communications were extensive, especially in the area of Deir ez-Zor, where Moscow-backed Syrian government forces are closing with Islamic State fighters and Syrian rebels, the latter backed by the U.S.

Still, friction remains and there is always the risk of a mistake. Also, the Russian diplomat accused the U.S. of falling short of its stated mission to destroy ISIS.

“This fact is evident and it is very worrisome, we were convinced yet again that the U.S. side, declaring verbally that it is interested in eliminating Daesh [Islamic State] and defeating terrorists in Syria, in practice demonstrates the opposite, that in the end of the day some political and geopolitical tasks are more important for Washington than what has been declared in the counterterrorist fight,” said Ryabkov.

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