“The coalition will continue to target ISIS wherever they operate to ensure they have no sanctuary,” Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said at a press briefing on Friday.
The United States was not a party to the talks which established the ceasefire, held in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday.
Rankine-Galloway added that the U.S. would continue “to effectively de-conflict coalition operations, however, we are not going to discuss the specifics of how we de-conflict operations in the highly congested and complex battlespace in Syria.”
While American operations in Syria are mostly focused on expelling ISIS from the rural eastern half of the country, disregard for the ceasefire could lead to a clash with Russian military forces if American planes happen to cross into one of the zones.
Russia has supported the Assad regime in the ongoing Syrian war since 2015.
Russian officials said any aircraft operating within the de-escalation zones, including American planes, is “off the table.”
“In the de-escalation zones, the work of aviation, especially the coalition forces, is absolutely not envisaged, with or without notification,” said Alexander Lavrentyev, Russian special envoy to Syria and leading negotiator in peace talks to resolve the conflict.
The envoy, however, added that American strikes on ISIS would be permitted.
“The only place where the coalition’s aviation can operate is certainly on targets of the Islamic State,” Lavrentyev said. “The aviation is located in the area of concentration of forces of this group near Raqqa and other settlements, near the Euphrates and Deir ez-Zor.”
Everything appears to be in order, but the Syrian conflict has taken unexpected turns in the past. Communication between the involved parties, however, could reduce the chances of an incident.
The American-Russian de-confliction line remains open after Russia threatened to close it over a retaliatory U.S. missile strike on Syria for an alleged regime chemical weapons attack. The line is a means of direct communication established to avoid clashes between air operations carried out by both countries.
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