General says Russian Federation almost bombed USA forces in Syria in ISIS fight

General says Russian Federation almost bombed USA forces in Syria in ISIS fight

Russian and Syrian jets almost hit US forces in northern Syria on Tuesday when they attacked positions held by Syrian Democratic Forces, a critical American ally in the effort to expel the Islamic State from Syria, the top USA general there said Wednesday.

A Russian and Syrian airstrike intended for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants mistakenly hit us -backed fighters in Syria, a top USA general said Wednesday.

USA forces were in the area - about three miles away - when the airstrikes took place, though no Americans were hit. "It's a very hard and complicated area" in which to operate.

"Some quick calls were made through our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped bombing there", Townsend said.

In this photo taken on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, Russian SU-24M jet fighter armed with laser guided bombs takes off from a runaway at Hmeimim airbase in Syria.

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"The ISIS fighters withdrew, and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages", Townsend said of the fighters who were targeted, using a common acronym for the Islamic State.

The U.S.is backing a force of Syrian Arabs and Kurds that is closing in on Raqqa, the de-facto capital in Syria of the Islamic State, which is also called ISIS. The Russian warplanes struck several small villages in northern Syria when they mistakenly thought Islamic State forces were in the area.

The U.S. troops observed the airstrikes and notified higher command to contact the Russians under an arrangement to "deconflict" U.S. and Russian operations in Syria, he said in a briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon.

To avoid mishaps in the air the US and Russian militaries are notifying each side about where they are operating, but they are not coordinating by sharing intelligence and targeting information. He said the USA leaves it to partnered forces to report on casualties they may suffer. "And we used that mechanism and it worked".

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