Stunning is an understatement. This is beyond absurd. There has been a tenuous cease-fire in Syria for the past 4 days, negotiated by Russia, between Bashir Assad’s Syrian Army and the militant fighters in the Islamic State (ISIS).
Today, the United States has broken the cease-fire; not Syria, not ISIS – the U.S. broke the cease-fire, and actually attacked Syrian ground troops. U.S. Centcom commanders are now admitting they made a “mistake”.
A mistake? …that accidentally assists ISIS.
(Via Fox News) The U.S. military halted an air raid against the Islamic State terror group in eastern Syria on Saturday after learning it struck a Syrian military unit by mistake, a U.S. Central Command official confirmed to Fox News.
The official said the U.S. military was “certain” about the outcome of the strike. Officials had been watching these forces “for a few days” thinking they were ISIS.
Syria and Russia said the U.S.-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour that was surrounded by ISIS fighters, enabling them to advance. The U.S. is not known to have directly struck Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces at any point during the five-year civil war.
The CENTCOM official described the target as “irregular forces,” adding that multiple U.S. aircraft struck six military “troop carrier” vehicles and one tank which were “out in the open.” The U.S. military informed Russian counterparts before the strike but “did not share specifics” of the target, just the airspace and general area.
A Russian Defense Ministry official said Syria has informed them that 62 of its soldiers were killed in the airstrike. Russia has been waging a year-old air campaign on behalf of Assad’s forces and closely coordinates with them.
The CENTCOM official said the U.S. was making calls to Russia through diplomatic channels.
The CENTCOM statement read, “the airstrike was halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.”
….It added, “coalition forces would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit.”
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the airstrike was conducted by two F-16s and two A-10s.
Konashenkov said Syrian authorities reported another 100 people wounded. The planes came from the direction of the border with Iraq, he added.
He said ISIS militants surrounding the air base launched an attack on the Syrian army positions after the strike. He added that if the coalition attack was launched by mistake, the reason for it was a “stubborn reluctance by the American side to coordinate its action against terrorist groups in Syria with Russia.” (read more)