To ensure that no collateral damage was done from the bombings in Syria, a 24 hour hotline was implemented to warn Russia of incoming air strikes. The main purpose of the hotline was to limit any possibilities of a military clash between the superpowers involved.
Britain, France and the US stated that the deconfliction channel was always open to create a form of communication between Moscow and Washington. The nations also stated that the line of communication had been used repeatedly to ensure that there is no collateral damage.
The hotline that has been used repeatedly was implemented during the time that Russia started providing President Bashar Assad with military support in September of 2015. It’s used to avoid any misunderstandings that may surface as multiple nations are operating in the region. The nations involved want to ensure that respect is given to airspace control to prevent the clash of Russian forces with those of the Western countries.
While the line has been closed in the past due to disputes, it has been very valuable while the West fights against Islamic State while not interfering with Russia’s aid to Present Assad.
The hotline was also an important part in ensuring that the Russian defence systems and their military didn’t interfere with the allied Western forces during the air strikes.
Joseph Dunford, Joint Chief of Staff Chairman, stated in a press conference that the US identified specific targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being collateral damage in the air strikes. He also added that the target identification was in no way a joint consultation between the two military forces of the actions taken place.
Dunford mentioned that the used the deconfliction channel to state that the airspace was being used and that they did not coordinate targets with Moscow. The US ambassador to Moscow, Jon Huntsman, said that before the US took any action, they communicated it with the Russian Federation to reduce the risk of casualties involving Russians and civilians.
Huntsman added that the conflict that is happening is not between superpowers but instead is regarding that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.
French defence minister, Florence Parly, stated that they don’t seek confrontation and refuse the possibility of a military escalation which is why the Western allied forces warned Russia beforehand.
The Russian defence ministry said that Syrian forces were the only ones affected by the strikes where no cruise missiles entered the Russian air defence occupied zones.
Currently the line of communication between Moscow and Washington remains open, according to a spokesman for the Pentagon.