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US, Russia make 'progress' in talks over Syria air safety

The US and Russia have reportedly made 'progress' during discussions about flight operations over Syria. The talks came amid fierce fighting between Russian-backed forces and so-called 'Islamic State' (IS) on the ground.

The Pentagon said in a statement on Saturday that US defense officials and their counterparts in Moscow held a 90-minute video conference call earlier that day. Similar talks, which aim to prevent accidents between US and Russian jets, are planned for the near future.

"The discussions were professional and focused narrowly on the implementation of specific safety procedures," the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

"Progress was made during the talks, and the US agreed to another discussion with Russia in the near future," the statement added.

Fierce fighting

The "progress" in talks on Saturday came as the conflict in Syria intensified.

Russia and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad,

are continuing to target areas held by the "IS."

A state-run Syrian news agency said government forces, accompanied by the Russian airstrikes, had retaken control of a village in the northern part of the country.

Tensions have increased between Russia and the US since Moscow launched a bombing campaign over Syria on September 30. Russia reportedly informed the US only an hour ahead of the mission starting.

Russian cruise missiles have since been launched from the Caspian Sea and aircraft have violated Turkish air space.

ksb/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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