Russia 'very helpful' in easing tensions after drone attack, Pentagon says

Russia 'very helpful' in easing tensions after drone attack, Pentagon says
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Russia has been “very helpful” in working to cool tensions between U.S.-led coalition forces and pro-Syrian government fighters a day after the United States shot down a pro-government drone near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, a Pentagon official said. 

“I think if you compare today to yesterday, we’ve seen a marked sense of quiet move over this situation,” Defense Department spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday.

He added that the Russians “have been very helpful to us in being the bridge of communications” between the United States and pro-Syrian government forces in the area.

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Davis said there have been “multiple conversations” between the U.S. and Russian military in the last day. 

He did acknowledge, however, that the government forces have not moved away from the established deconfliction zone around At Tanf.

The United States on Thursday shot down a drone that fired on U.S.-led forces within the deconfliction zone near an At Tanf military garrison, where Syrian rebels are being trained to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants. 

Davis said Friday that the United States “acted in self defense and if it happens again we’ll act again,” but maintained that the strategy is to not make any further actions unless threatened.

“We’re not looking to start a fight with anybody other than ISIS,” he said. “We are acting in self defense. We have done it four times. We hope not to do it again.”