Russian Jets Nearly Bomb US Forces In Syria, Hit US-Backed Rebels

Tyler Durden's picture

Russian and Syrian jets nearly hit U.S. forces in northern Syria on Tuesday when they attacked positions held by Syrian Democratic Forces, a US ally in the ongoing effort to expel the Islamic State from Syria, the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Syria said Wednesday.

The Russian and Syrian planes, apparently, had seen some ISIS forces recently move out of the area and hit the U.S. proxies thinking they were ISIS forces. The Syrian Arab force took casualties, but the Russian planes peeled off once their American counterparts used a long-established hotline to warn them they were bombing friendly forces. American advisory forces were fewer than five miles away, but were unharmed.


Russian Tu-22M3 bombers striking ISIS targets in Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

As Stripes reports, the targeting of the Syrian Arab Coalition in the hamlets to the south and east of al-Bab on Tuesday appeared unintentional and quickly ceased, once nearby U.S. troops alerted the Russians about which group had been hit, said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition. The Syrian Arab Coalition makes up about 60% of the Syrian Democratic Forces – the United States’ proxy force fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

“I believe [the Russians and Syrians] thought [those villages] were held by [the Islamic State group], but who was actually on the ground were some of our Syrian Arab Coalition force,” Townsend told reporters at the Pentagon in a briefing from his headquarters in Baghdad. “As the regime and [Turkish forces] advanced on those villages, the [Islamic State group] fighters withdrew and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages.”

While Townsend said the Syrian Arab Coalition forces suffered casualties in the attacks, he did not say whether anyone was killed or how many fighters were injured.

As Foreign Policy adds, what happened today is a situation that U.S. commanders have been trying to avoid since Russia deployed dozens of aircraft to Syria in late 2015. Currently there are about 500 American troops are on the ground training Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in the runup to the assault on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, and the Russians have shown themselves to be indifferent over who, or what, they strike with their unguided bombs.

The jumbled mess of competing forces in and around al-Bab has increased the likelihood of mistakes or miscalculations. Turks, their Free Syrian Army allies, ISIS, Syrian regime forces, and the U.S.-backed Syrian Arab Coalition and Kurdish forces are “literally within hand grenade range of each other,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday.  Al-Bab was liberated last week from the terrorist group by Turkish forces - backed by some 50 U.S. airstrikes - after months of fighting.

Townsend, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, said these groups are “bumping up against each other” around the city, adding “three armies and an enemy force have all converged within the same grid square, so it’s very difficult and complicated” to know just who is where.

“It’s the most complicated environment or situation I’ve been in in my entire life,” he said.

Townsend urged the Russians, Syrians, Turks and U.S.-backed forces to all focus on fighting the Islamic State group, because it threatens everyone inside Syria and elsewhere. “That’s what we should all keep our efforts focused on and not on fighting the [other] liberators accidentally – one another,” he said.

That said, the Russian and Syrian strikes did not endanger any American troops in the area. There are some 500 U.S. special operators working as advisers to anti-Islamic State forces in Syria. Some of the U.S. troops were within about five miles of the airstrikes Tuesday, Townsend said. After observing the attacks, the American troops alerted the coalition who contacted the Russians through standard communication lines that the two forces use to ensure flight safety over Syria.

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 added that the U.S. asks “all forces to remain focused on the counter-ISIS fight and concentrate their efforts on defeating ISIS, and not toward other objectives that may cause the coalition to divert energy and resources away from Raqqa.”

As Stripes adds, it is not the first time the communication line, which officials have said is used daily to ensure Russian and coalition warplanes maintain safe distances in Syria, has been needed to stop the wrong target from being bombed. Russia blamed a U.S. airstrike near Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria for the deaths of more than 60 Syrian regime forces in September. Russian officials contacted the coalition using the communication line, but they did not immediately report that Syrian troops had been hit. The Russians later informed the coalition that it had bombed Syrian forces and the attack was halted.

* * *

Meanwhile, Russia denied everything and according to RT, 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 said, rejecting the accusations of the US commander. The Russian military in Syria had been contacted by their American counterparts, who "expressed concern" that Russian and Syrian aircraft could "carry out an unintended strike" at positions of Washington-backed fighters during an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian 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 ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the information was "taken into account" by the Russian military.

"Not a single air strike on the regions specified by the US side was conducted by Russian or Syrian air forces," the statement said.  The defense ministry also said it would continue "effective cooperation" with the US military through established channels in order to fight the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group in Syria.

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moorewasthebestbond's picture

First bitchez.

 

This event wasn't staged to send a message, was it?

knukles's picture

Hold the boat! 
So it's "official" official that the US has ground forces fighting in Syria?

flaminratzazz's picture

I would think we have troops in every country in Africa.

and the ME

spooks in every other country world wide.

knukles's picture

At least our guys are the moderate ones.  /s

The Juggernaut's picture

"If we wanted to hit you we would hit you."  - Russia

Logan 5's picture

NOT.SEEN.ON.CNN.OR.MSNBC.

 

so it can't be news (unless those Russian JETS were actually hacking HRC's personal pedophilia correspondence while in operation)

 

In THAT case ~ they wrere illegal HACKERS & Hollywood agrees that they need to be bombed...

Bastiat's picture

The US backed and supplied rebels who were supplying ISIS?

Logan 5's picture

as long as you can weave RUSSIAN HACKERS into the story den it mus b tru

BullyBearish's picture

No...just democraps looking to mess up another jewish community center...

tmosley's picture

>US backed moderate rebels

Wait, we're still backing ISIS?

Or are we pretending to back them while we let Russia bomb them?

HowdyDoody's picture

The first time the Russians waited until the US SF left the terrorist base near the Jordan border, then bombed the base and terrorists to smithereens. The second time, the Russians bombed the terrorist base whilst US SF were nearby. I think you can guess what happens if there is a third time. I think it is called collateral damage, or maybe 'Ooops, we didnt know you were there.'

The US can't complain. They are in Syria without permission of the Syrian government and the deliberately bombed SAA ground forces 2 or 3 times.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Tyler(s), you might want to enclose things like this in blockquotes:

the Russians have shown themselves to be indifferent over who, or what, they strike with their unguided bombs.

Otherwise, it isn't clear (unless one actually clicks on the link to the foreignpolicy.com article) that these are the words of Paul McCleary, a cheap propagandist over at FP.

Just tryin' to help.

Sir Edge's picture

Yes... Exactly... American Forces have no international right to be in Northern Syria.. 

...........End of Freaking Story... Get OUT !

 

Edgey...

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

We helped CREATE ISIS and certainly armed a supplied them by every means possible for the past 4 years. That was why we originally stuck our foot in Libya, a ham-fisted attempt to "launder" the goods and supplies. That was just about totally transparent. Man, Liberals suck at everything except self promotion and throwing wrenches into working machinery, don't they?!

I'm still not exactly sure what the end goal of the globalists is when they simultaneously poke the hornets nest and then collect the hornets and bring them home to live?! It's suicidal madness. I suppose it is as simple as general destabilization to set the stage for all the coming out war to provide cover for the inevitable global economic implosion. The whole "moderate" Syrian rebels meme was just one of several dirty Obama/Clinton fabrications like the Arab Spring and domestic law enforcement brutality. Breaking old trusts and institutions, fomenting fear and anger. Setting the stage for the ivory tower cretins to try to escape culpability for 100 years worth of high crimes.

I'm just hoping that Trump has spoken to Putin and has made certain ahem... arrangements to disengage and hopefully leave all of them to their own over there.

beemasters's picture

If there were other non-alliance nations supplying weapons to these "rebels", they would have been punished through sanctions.

Volaille de Bresse's picture

"The US backed and supplied rebels who were supplying ISIS?"

 

For more accuracy you should cut out the middle guy : 

"The US backed and supplied ISIS?"

There, fixed for you!

 

MaxThrust's picture

I like the jibe about Russian unguided bombs. Are we supposed to belive the Russkies don't have guided weapons? That's a little naive isn't  it.

East Indian's picture

Russians use "dumb" bombs, but they have made their planes into smart plartforms - the plane will release the bomb over the right spot, and then the bomb will take an unguided trajectory. That was it is cheaper a lot. 

researchfix's picture

Exactly, and that way they can use old stock.

SoilMyselfRotten's picture

Sorry US troops but i'll bet ya the neo-cons would've preferred you took a direct hit

Ferrari's picture

Will they give Trump the Nobel Peace Prize if he withdraws US troops from Syria?

knukles's picture

Does Trump wear little red shoes?

East Indian's picture

Trump will be given the Nobel only if he resigns. That too within the next two months. 

keep the bastards honest's picture

and this article is a full on propaganda piece. Has lies and ascribes to to others what the USA has done.

The russians immediately stopped bombing.. where as the US does not, and does not pickup the  phone when an emergancy like this occurs. eg the last effort when the RAAF brave australians bombed people defending their own democratically elected govt and their own country, and killed 88 of the Syrian Army and wounded a 100. RAAF kept bombing for half an hour, same with hospitals.

Further the US has consistantly refused to share strategic info with Russia and  will not share on a daily basis so as to make sure neither harms. But ISIS and others had strategic info that Russia shared with the US despite it refusing to share.

 

 

moorewasthebestbond's picture

It fucking over in Syria. Anything else is just pure suffering and target practice.

 

Just like the DPR and LPR aren't going away in Ukraine. It's *over* there too but McStain and friends still want to send American bodies and money there.

TAALR Swift's picture

It's not Over, until the President's boss tells him it's over.

You thought that Trump was in charge?  Amusing.

opport.knocks's picture

I agree, very odd, who invited them?

Chupacabra-322's picture

Exactly. If they get hit. They're just like any other Invading Ememy Force.

Hobbleknee's picture

Yes, they're called ISIS.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

no no no the rest of the world calls them ISIS,
but the US calls them whatever the "moderate rebel" acronym of the week is that isn't I-S-I-S.

Blankone's picture

Yes it is official.  The US has stated that there are 500 special forces (in reality there must be more) in Syria and that they are now fighting alongside the US proxy forces.  The military/State Dept has just recently made noise that it is time to send in regular US troops to secure areas of Syria.

finametrics's picture

Wonder if the Russians did this on purpose to hopefully get america to admit their presence in Syria.

keep the bastards honest's picture

yes you have  amercians fighting in Syria and arming rebels until the money runs out

The syrians and opposition syrians had mediation with russian iran and turkey and  are now fighting together against ISIS and its mates. This does not appear in msm.

White Hats are supporting al nusra and isis. Clooney supports White Hats. The syrian army does not have to respect US badged  invaders. Especailly after Israel planes flew over ISIS to bomb Syrians.

 

Blankone's picture

What event?  Staged by whom?  For what message?

According to Russia they did not conduct any missions in the region because the US said "their proxy" was there.  So this would be an event (false one) staged by the US.  And what is the message?  That the Russian's almost hit US troops, and maybe the purpose is to ready us for a false claim of russia killing US troops.  Or maybe just to push russia out of that region's airspace for good.

This is what Putin gets for not having the balls to declare a no fly zone two years ago. 

Now the US has badged portions of the insurgents in Syria as US fighters who cannot be attacked while they take control of cities or regions.

chubbar's picture

Perhaps someone could remind the US that the Russians are invited to be in that country and the Syrian Rebel forces along with the US gov't, are not invited. That little fact just never seems to make it into the news.

Lynx Dogood's picture

No it wasn't staged. It just sent a mesage to the US invaders for Saudi Arabia and their pipeline. Leave now, or die!

 

Good for Russia and Syria to send a messege without killing them all, won't be so lucky next time. The US is an uninvited invading force, in more ways than one, just ask john mcKained. Please probe into his received contributions for campaigns!

DirtySanchez's picture

Everybody is wearing a fucking bullseye over there.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

... and carrying US made scopes, body armor and buttstocks in the videos.

Winston Churchill's picture

Probably your last warning, you weren't invited to the party,get out.

The Ram's picture

Winston - I think it may also be a not so subtle warning that Russia knows who is behind the killing of some of its officials.  

aliens is here's picture

This regime change shit needs to stop. We don't belong in Syria or another other country. Put the troops on the US border.

onwisconsinbadger's picture

But if don't use bombs we can't build more. Sad !!!

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Yeah, to make sure nobody gets out!

TeethVillage88s's picture

Please provide us a Strategy for Stewardship of USD that limits Foreign Involvement, foreign bases, foreign police actions around the globe.

- I think you are on the Right Track!

keep the bastards honest's picture

That would be the saving of america.  Use the troops to fix up the failing roads etc. Help re-build the country. 

onwisconsinbadger's picture

Putin has golden shower tape. He is The KING. Sad !!!!

opport.knocks's picture

Whatever dirt there is on Trump is owned by the Zionists (via their agent Epstein)