Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter have agreed to re-establish military-to-military contacts between the countries, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.
"The ministers noted the restoration of military-to-military contacts and agreed to further continue consultations," Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.Russian and US defense chiefs also discussed the situation in the Middle East in a phone conversation and agreed that the stances of the countries concerning the situation in the region are quite similar, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said.
"They agreed to further discuss mechanisms for deconfliction in Syria and the counter-ISIL campaign," the Pentagon said as quoted by Reuters. The Pentagon added that the phone conversation lasted almost an hour.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with Assad’s government fighting against many opposition factions and extremist groups, including ISIL and al-Nusra. Russia, unlike many Western countries, considers Assad to be the legitimate authority in Syria, and has provided humanitarian aid and military equipment to the country.