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Russian, US Top Military Officers Discuss Situation in Syria, Iraq

(TASS) -- The Situation in Syria and Iraq, as well as issues of countering international terrorism were discussed during a telephone conversation between Chief of Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, the press service of the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

"The sides exchanged views on the situation in Syria and Iraq and discussed further actions to counter international terrorist organizations, as well as issues of the functioning of the de-escalation zone in the southwest of Syria," the press service said.

The office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the conversation focused on issues of bilateral concern, without giving any further details.

"The conversation addressed issues of mutual concern between the U.S. and Russia militaries," reads the statement, obtained by TASS.

"The military leaders have spoken several times in the past year and, keeping with past practice, both have agreed not to disclose the details of their conversation."

An agreement on the establishment of de-escalation zones in Syria was reached at an international meeting on Syria in Kazakhstan's Astana on May 4.

It is planned to establish such zones in four areas, namely in Idlib, north of Homs, in Eastern Ghouta and in the south of Syria. After the Russia-US summit in Germany's Hamburg on July 7, it was announced that a de-escalation zone was to be set up in the southwest of Syria to encompass Daraa, al-Quneitra and al-Suwayda.

The US Department of State said earlier Washington supported efforts geared to establish another de-escalation zone in Syria, despite its not taking part in them.


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