A spokesman for the military coalition against ISIS hinted today that the U.S. is still in touch with Russian forces operating in the same space, days after Russia cut off those communications amid rising tensions.
Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, gave those clues in a livestreamed briefing June 23 after reporters pressed him about the status of the so-called “deconfliction line,” a communications link between the U.S. and Russian commands that could reduce the risk of a military incident between the world powers.
“If we know through the deconfliction line that there are going to be strikes and our forces are not in the area, that’s how we want things to be,” he said. “It remains open and we’re not going to discuss every detail.”
Tensions have run high since the U.S. helped stand up a coalition garrison at At Tanf near the Syria-Iraq border, a key supply corridor that the Iranian and Syrian governments seem intent on securing.
Pro-Syrian regime forces, which are supported by Russia, tried to repeatedly enter the deconfliction zone surrounding the base, triggering retaliatory U.S. strikes against Syrian drones, Task & Purpose reported earlier this week.
After a Navy F-18 shot down a Syrian SU-22 on June 18 for attacking U.S.-backed rebels, Russia declared that it was done coordinating its military’s moves in Syria with U.S. forces.
Earlier today, Russian Navy frigates launched six cruise missiles at Islamic State targets in Syria northeast of Homs, according to the U.S. News & World Report.
When asked by reporters whether the U.S. was notified ahead of the cruise missile strikes, Dillon said, “If they have missiles entering our airspace, that is why the deconfliction line exists. It is open and it is in use.”
He added, “As long as we can deconflict and focus on what we’re there to do without having any strategic mishaps … we’re perfectly happy with that.”
When asked about Syrian regime forces and Iranian-backed militias who, like the U.S.-led coalition, were advancing on Islamic State-held territory, Dillon responded: “We’re here to fight ISIS, and if others want to fight ISIS to defeat them, we have no problem with that.”
In a not-so-veiled threat to the Taliban, President Donald Trump argued on Monday the United States has the capacity to bring a swift end to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, but he is seeking a different solution to avoid killing "10 million people."
"I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth," Trump said on Monday at the White House. "It would be gone. It would be over in – literally in 10 days. And I don't want to do that. I don't want to go that route."
The seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the latest example of how tensions between the U.S. and Iran have spilled into one of the world's most strategic and vital waterways for oil. Since May, Iran has been accused of harassing and attacking oil tankers in the strait.
As the British government continues to investigate Friday's seizure, experts worry that it raises the potential of a military clash. However, they also say it offers a lens into Iran's strategy toward the U.S.
Here is a look at what's been happening and why the Strait of Hormuz matters.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, speaking at a White House meeting with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, said on Monday the United States is working with Islamabad to find a way out of the war in Afghanistan.
Trump held out the possibility of restoring U.S. aid to Pakistan, depending upon what is worked out, and offered assistance to Islamabad in trying to ease strained ties with India.
The Navy has identified the missing sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana, who was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, with Carrier Air Wing 7.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force has suspended paying incentive fees at all 21 military housing bases operated by landlord Balfour Beatty Communities following a Reuters-CBS News report that the company falsified maintenance records at an Oklahoma base to help it qualify for millions of dollars in bonuses.