Russia and Syria may have some explaining to do, as the CNBC reports that aircraft from the two countries carried out airstrikes on U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition fighters on Tuesday. The AFP adds that this was an “accident,” while Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said the airstrike caused several casualties near the Syrian city of al-Bab.
U.S. forces reportedly saw the bombing happen from about three miles away from the blasts. The bombings stopped after U.S. military officials called their Russian counterparts on an emergency line, which was set up in 2015 to avoid congested airspace in the area. Townsend said he believes the aircraft may have been targeting ISIS forces when the mistake happened:
“Yesterday, we had some Russian aircraft and (Syrian) regime aircraft bomb some villages that I believe they thought were held by ISIS, yet they were actually — on the ground — were some of our Syrian Arab coalition forces. “Some quick calls were made through our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped bombing there.”
Russian officials have already denied the accusations as stated through their state-run news outlet. In doing so, the Russian Defense Ministry said, “To avoid any incidents, the US representative has provided exact coordinates of the US-backed opposition forces in the region to a Russian officer.” The incident is currently under investigation.