Russia Intentionally Bombed Near U.S.-backed Forces in Syria, Claims Pentagon

Russian FM Lavrov and Secretary Tillerson talk Syria after bombing allegations as the situation on the ground becomes increasingly complicated

In this Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 photo Russian military helicopter flies over the desert in Deir el-Zor province, Syria. A U.S.-backed force in Syria said a Russian airstrike wounded six of its fighters Saturday near the eastern city of Deir el-Zour while in southeast Syria
AP Photo

Russian jets bombed a target east of the Euphrates River near  Deir al-Zor in Syria where it knew U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition advisers were located, the Pentagon said on Saturday.

"Russian munitions impacted a location known to the Russians to contain Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition advisers," the Pentagon said in a statement. "Several SDF fighters were wounded," it added.

Coalition troops advising and assisting the SDF were not wounded, the Pentagon added. The SDF is an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting with the U.S.-led coalition. 

Syria is currently very crowded as Iranian, Russian and American forces operate within striking distance of Hezbollah, Assad's military, and Syrian rebels among others, which still include a quickly diminishing ISIS. The Israeli air force is also present in the skies over Syria as it continues to try and stop arms shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. 

Israel had asked Russia and the United States to prevent an Iranian presence, or that of any Shi’ite militia operating under Iranian influence, in southern Syria near the Israeli border in any cease-fire agreement. Israel presented its demand during the talks that preceded the cease-fire agreement in July – but the Russians refused.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on early Sunday morning that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had phoned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday to discuss the Syria situation and how the "anti-terrorism" battle on the ground was playing out.

The call occurred after U.S.-backed militias in Syria said they had come under attack on Saturday from Russian jets and Syrian government forces in Deir al-Zor province, a flashpoint in an increasingly complex battlefield.

The Russian Foreign Ministry did not say in its statement about the Lavrov-Tillerson call if the two men had discussed that allegation and how Moscow had responded if they had.