The US government will work to restore the deconfliction channel with Russia in Syria that Moscow suspended after Washington's forces downed a Syrian warplane, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Monday.
At a luncheon in Washington, Gen. Joseph Dunford said that the US would work both by diplomatic and military channels to reestablish the line of communications to avoid confrontations and reduce tensions, adding that there are still ways to avoid clashes although US and coalition forces can fully defend themselves.
"I'm confident that we are still communicating between the coalition operations center and the Russian operations center," he said, adding that "I think the worst thing any of us could do would be to address this with hyperbole."
The general noted that Washington's main objective in Syria is to destroy the Islamic State, something that Russia has also said is central to its own strategy in Syria, where it is defending the interests of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
On the weekend, a US Navy F-18 shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber that had bombarded rebel Syrian Democratic Forces, who are US allies and who are participating in the allied offensive to liberate Raqqa from the IS.
Russia said that the shootdown incident was a "cynical violation of Syria's sovereignty."
Dunford said that if Russia is serious about eliminating the IS, it should understand that it is necessary to work to reduce tensions in Syria, where the US has increased its presence by deploying elite ground forces.