WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, the US-led coalition claimed that Russian and Syrian jets had accidentally bombed Syrian Arab Coalition fighters; the accusation was later refuted by the Russian Defense Ministry.
"The event happened on the battlefield, was discussed in the de-confliction channel that we maintain with the Russians, and we all continue fighting ISIS [Daesh], an enemy that threatens us all," a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said.
US-led coalition commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said Wednesday the incident happened in a small village about 10-12 miles from Manbij in northwest Syria. The commander stressed that Russia likely believed the area was held by the Daesh militants, who had previously moved out ahead of an advance by Turkish partners.
The coalition declined to further expand on Townsend’s comments.
US forces were about four or five kilometers (2.5-3 miles) away when they observed the incident and contacted their Russian counterparts.
"Some quick calls were made through our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped bombing there," Townsend told reporters.
The United States and Russia signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding in October 2015 to ensure flight safety during combat missions over Syria.
Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.
Moscow has been conducting a counter-terrorist campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar Assad's request.