The US military said it halted an air raid against Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria after being told by Russia that it might have struck Syrian government forces.
The US Central Command statement came after Syria and Russia said the US-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour which is surrounded by IS militants, enabling the extremists to advance.
The statement said: “The air strike 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 that “coalition forces would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit”.
The US is not known to have directly struck Syrian president Bashar Assad’s forces at any point during the five-year civil war.
It is unclear why coalition air forces would be mounting attacks during a fragile ceasefire which the US has worked to put in place. However, the ceasefire does not apply to attacks on IS.
A Russian defence ministry official said Syria has informed them that 62 of its soldiers were killed in the air strike. Russia has been waging a year-old air campaign on behalf of Syrian president Bashar Assad’s forces and closely coordinates with them. READ MORE OF THIS STORY
SOURCES: News Now/ Belfast Telegraph