Russian and Syrian regime pilots bombed Syrian villages that "they thought were held by ISIS" - but were in fact occupied by US-backed coalition forces, a United States general said Wednesday.
Russian and Syrian forces "accidentally" bombed US -backed fighters in Syria on Tuesday, killing some Syrian rebels, a top USA general said Wednesday.
Russian and Syrian aircraft bombed positions held by the US-backed Syrian Arab Coalition near the Syrian town of al Bab on Tuesday, inflicting casualties, the top USA commander in Iraq said on Wednesday.
USA forces were in the area - about three miles away - when the airstrikes took place, though no Americans were hit.
"It became apparent that the strikes were falling on some of the Syrian Arab Coalition positions and some quick calls were made to our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped - stopped bombing there".
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The top US commander in Iraq on Wednesday downplayed the chances that the United States would deploy a large number of additional coalition forces to battle the Islamic State, even as President Donald Trump weighs options to speed the campaign. "It's very hard and complicated".
Earlier Wednesday, a USA commander accused Russian and Syrian jets of bombing US-backed fighters in Syria.
The deadly bombing run marks the second time in weeks that Russian planes have bombed friendly forces around al Bab. "The ISIS fighters withdrew, and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages", the general explained.
Speaking at a small American outpost near Manbij, Townsend said that before the push for Raqqa can fully kick off, the whole SDF - Arab and Kurdish alike - are "going to need additional combat power". "We have YPG, Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, and Syrian Arab Coalition fighters also right bumping up against each other there", he said. Russia, Turkey, the USA and other countries are backing surrogate forces inside Syria, which has been in a civil war since 2011.
Currently, about 500 USA troops are in Syria but are not involved in direct combat and are away from the front lines of the fighting.