National Security

Russia Bombs US Assets In Syria


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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Russian aircraft bombed members of the Syrian-Arab forces, a U.S.-backed militia fighting the Islamic State in Northern Syria, said the commander of U.S. forces in the region.

U.S. military advisers operating a few miles from the bomb site saw the Syrians get hit, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, told the Associated Press . He did not mention how many casualties were sustained in the attack.

Russia claimed its forces heeded U.S. advice on friendly forces operating in the region, denying responsibility for the attack. U.S. and Russian forces operating in Syria use a hotline to communicate strikes with one another in order to avoid problems.

Townsend said U.S. forces contacted Russia after witnessing the attack. The Russians acknowledged the communique and ceased bombing the target. The general told reporters that he believes Russia was mistakenly attempting to bomb ISIS forces in the area, despite the fact the terrorist group’s fighters had already withdrawn beforehand.

Russia intervened in Syria in an alleged effort to support its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against terrorist groups, however, a report published in October showed that few Russian air strikes occurred in ISIS territory for the first ten days of the month.

The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement denying it hit the U.S.-backed militia, noting that a U.S. officer had informed Russian forces about the possibility of accidental strikes on its allies.

“To prevent any such incidents, a U.S. representative gave precise coordinates of the U.S.-backed opposition forces in that area to a Russian military officer,” said the statement. “The Russian military command took that information into account. Russian or Syrian aircraft haven’t dealt a single strike on the areas designated by the U.S.”

Russia is known to have bombed U.S.-backed forces in Syria before. Russian forces engaged in air strikes against U.S.-backed Syrian rebels in the city of Aleppo in June, just hours after a ceasefire was in place. U.S. forces requested they stop, however, the calls were reportedly ignored.

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