For the second time in the past year, Russian fighter jets nearly hit U.S. forces in northern Syria on Tuesday when they attacked positions held by Syrian Democratic Forces, a top U.S. commander in Iraq and Syria said Wednesday.
“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,” Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters at the Pentagon. “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.”
Immediately after the strike, U.S. leaders in Qatar called Russia's headquarters in Latakia, Syria to tell them that they should not attack the base. Ninety minutes later, Russia dropped another cluster bomb on the base and the pilots of the aircraft did not respond to any U.S. stress calls.