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Russian Federation denies accidentally bombing SDF forces in northern Syria

02 March 2017

Russian and Syrian aircraft mistakenly bombed members of us -backed Syrian forces near the Syrian town of al-Bab, with USA troops just a few kilometers away, a top us general in Iraq said.

Neither Russian nor Syrian air forces had bombed positions of Syrian Arab coalition fighters supported by Washington in Syria on Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry has said, rejecting accusations put forward by a USA military commander.

The latest near miss occurred near the city of al Bab, just northeast of Aleppo, which Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies recently took from ISIS, leaving them in a staredown with Syrian regime forces who site just south of the city.

USA advisers who are supporting the Syrian forces were several miles away when the Russians launched the airstrike. "It's very hard and complicated".

Regarding the attacks, Sputnik News quoted a Commander from the Operation Inherent Resolve Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who briefed the press regarding the attack saying, "Some quick calls were made through our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped bombing there".

The mistake in northern Syria highlights the complexity of the Syrian battlefield, where numerous forces with differing agendas are engaged in fighting.

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The general sought to tamp down tensions, saying that "the coalition is encouraged" by the progress against ISIS by the Turkish military and their proxies. He said the USA leaves it to partnered forces to report on casualties they may suffer.

Earlier Wednesday, a United States commander accused Russian and Syrian jets of bombing US-backed fighters in Syria.

The Russians likely believed they were hitting Islamic State targets and ceased the strikes on Tuesday once they were notified by US forces, Townsend told reporters during a video press briefing.

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".

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.