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.
In this photo provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows Russian air force Tu-22M3 bombers strike the Islamic State targets in Syria, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.
"Not a single air strike on the regions specified by the U.S. side was conducted by Russian or Syrian air forces", the statement said. "It's very hard and complicated".
Quick calls to Russian forces through "deconfliction channels" stopped the bombing, he said.
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The incident on Tuesday marked the second time in a month that Russian aircraft mistakenly attacked friendly forces. "Yet, they were actually - on the ground were some of our Syrian Arab Coalition forces". "The ISIS fighters withdrew, and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages", the general explained.
There are a number of different fighters in northern Syria, including Syrian government forces, Turkish-backed Syrian fighters and Kurdish fighters. He said the US leaves it to partnered forces to report on casualties they may suffer.
Townsend told reporters that he believed the Russians and Syrians had thought that the villages were held by Islamic State forces. In this strategy the United States offers the resources of the USA military - including airpower, intelligence, training and arms - while locals carry out the front-line fighting. Stephen Townsend said during a briefing.
Ankara does not want armed Kurds, whom they consider terrorists, to take part in the fight for Raqqa, but US military leaders have said that they are the most reliable fighting force on the ground in Syria.