US Says Russia 'Accidentally' Bombed American-Backed Syrian Troops

Posted March 02, 2017

Russian aircraft mistakenly struck USA -backed forces in northern Syria, a us general said Wednesday.

USA forces on the ground less than three miles from the site reportedly observed the strike and alerted the Russian military through an emergency line, after which the bombing stopped, he continued.

Quick calls to Russian forces through "deconfliction channels" stopped the bombing, he said.

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It was a situation that USA commanders have been trying to avoid since Russian Federation deployed dozens of aircraft to Syria in late 2015. Last month, they mistakenly bombed Turkish soldiers near the city, killing three.

The Syrian Arab Coalition fights under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an anti-ISIS, anti-Qaeda, anti-Assad coalition now leading the major Wrath of Euphrates offensive to oust ISIS from their capital, Raqqa. "The ISIS fighters withdrew, and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages", the general explained.

Syrian fighters backed by the United States, the Turks as well as Syrian forces backed by Russian Federation all are still active in the area. They are expected to include new deployments for some USA troops.

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Townsend told reporters that he believed the Russians and Syrians had thought that the villages were held by Islamic State forces.

To avoid mishaps in the air the USA and Russian militaries are notifying each side about where they are operating, but they are not coordinating by sharing intelligence and targeting information. While the 50,000-strong force faces "the problem of supply, the problem of training, and problems of positioning the force", those things can be worked out fairly rapidly, "if we get the authorities we need" from Washington, he said.

"There'll be Kurds attacking Raqqa", Townsend said Wednesday.

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