Russian Defence Ministry denies hitting SDF in Manbij

Russian fighter jet taking off (AP photo).

The Russian Defence Ministry has denied US allegations that Russian jets carried out airstrikes on several villages near Manbij in northern Syria controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after they had mistaken them for Islamic State (IS) positions.

Earlier on Wednesday, Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said Russian and Syrian regime aircraft had attacked the villages south of Manbij.

“We had some Russian aircraft and regime aircraft bomb some villages that I believe they thought were held by ISIS… actually on the ground were some of our Syrian Arab Coalition forces,” Townsend said.

The Syrian Arab Coalition is part of the SDF working together with the US against IS in Syria.

US troops were about five kilometres away from the bombing, Townsend said. The Americans had provided Russia with the coordinates of the US troops as well as those of the SDF.

The Russian Defence Ministry said, “The data was registered and taken into account by the Russian command. No airstrikes were carried out by either Syrian or Russian aircraft in areas designated by the US side.”