US, Russia Increase Communication to Prevent Mishaps in Syria
The commander in charge of U.S. air operations in the Middle East says the United States and Russia have communicated more via an established military hotline as the air space around Islamic State territory in Syria has become more crowed.
"We have had to increase the amount of deconfliction work we are doing with the Russians, given the tighter airspace that we are now working ourselves through," Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian told reporters Wednesday.
The communication hotline was created between Russia and the U.S. several months ago to avoid potential mishaps and misunderstandings in the sky over Syria. Islamic State has been reduced from its peak of about 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria to current estimates of fewer than 15,000.
Harrigian confirmed the U.S. has established deconfliction zones around U.S. military personnel inside Syria, adding that Russian movement within these areas is restricted to protect American and U.S.-backed forces.
Protests Target Both NATO and Trump in Brussels
NATO leaders arrived in Brussels amid tight security for a summit Thursday dominated by the terrorist attack in Manchester, England.
It is the first encounter of many of the leaders with U.S. President Donald Trump, who during his campaign called the alliance "obsolete" for not effectively countering terrorism.
Recent terror attacks in Europe mean the U.S. leader may get the support he needs to strengthen the alliance's anti-terrorist efforts.
Thousands of leftist demonstrators marched in central Brussels Wednesday, protesting against both NATO and Trump. Some carried picket signs and banners with obscenities insulting the U.S. leader.
Some said they actually welcomed Trump's earlier criticism of NATO, but are now disappointed that he is engaging the alliance.
Trump arrived in Brussels at a time when Europe is extremely tense following the terrorist attack in Manchester.
The Belgian government deployed about 4,000 police, some heavily armed, and soldiers in Brussels ahead of the summit. Soldiers were seen patrolling streets, hotel lobbies and the city's underground metro system.