United States commander downplays chance of big troop hike in Iraq and Syria

Russian-backed Syrian troops pushed into a western neighbourhood of the city of Palmyra after fierce clashes with Islamic State group jihadistsMore

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 has said, rejecting accusations put forward by a U.S. military commander. Syrian fighters backed by the United States, the Turks as well as Syrian forces backed by Russian Federation all are still active in the area. The SDF consists of more than 50,000 fighters, female and male commanders, Arabs, Assyrian Christians, Kurds, and other minority ethnic groups.

Russian and Syrian regime aircraft on Tuesday bombed villages southeast of Syrian city al-Bab that they thought were held by ISIS, Army Lt. Gen. The issue is a sticky one because the Turks are opposed to the USA relying on Syrian Kurdish fighters in and around Raqqa; the Turks consider the Kurdish force known as YPG to be terrorists and a threat to Turkey.

As per reports, Russian Federation believed the area was held by the outlawed ISIS (Daesh) militants, who reportedly had earlier moved out as the Turkish partners advanced in the area.

Russian and Syrian regime warplanes bombed USA -backed militia fighters in small villages near al-Bab, a northern Syrian city recently recaptured from the Islamic State group, the top US commander in Iraq and Syria said Wednesday.

"Yet, they were actually - on the ground were some of our Syrian Arab Coalition forces".

An analysis from the Institute for the Study of War Wednesday said if the Turks moved on Manbij, it would "derail the US -backed campaign against ISIS and create opportunities for al Qaeda to expand further in Syria". "The ISIS fighters withdrew, and the Syrian Arab Coalition fighters advanced into those villages", the general explained. "It is working and our local partners are fully invested, they are leading the fight", he said.

Townsend added that USA troops were less than five kilometers (three miles) away from the villages and observed the bombing.

"Some quick calls were made through our de-confliction channels, and the Russians acknowledged and stopped bombing there", the general said.

Townsend referred casualty questions back to the SAC.

Townsend told reporters that he believed the Russians and Syrians had thought that the villages were held by Islamic State forces.

Townsend said the bombings occurred south and east of al-Bab.

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