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 Russia and the United States have signed a deal that they hope will avoid clashes between their air forces in the skies over Syria, officials from both countries say.

Russian began air strikes in Syria on 30 September, saying it was targeting Islamic State (IS) militants.

Last week, the US said both countries' planes "entered the same battle space" and came within miles of each other.

Officials had been seeking an agreement since late September.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the text of the deal would remain secret, but that it laid out means for both sides to communicate and establish a hotline on the ground.

The two countries would not, however, share intelligence on their targets, he said.

Western countries and Syrian activists say Russian planes have been hitting non-IS targets - a claim Moscow denies.

Russia said it began its aerial campaign against IS militants and other jihadist groups after a request for military help from its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia's deputy defence minister, Anatoly Antonov, said the memorandum "contains a number of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between American and Russian planes".
 
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