The US has accused the Russian Aerospace Forces of carrying out of airstrikes on positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, stationed in Aleppo province.
On March 1, during a press briefing in Baghdad, a representative of the Command of the US-led coalition, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, accused the Russian air power of carrying out of an airstrike on positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are a part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the northeast of Aleppo province.
According to Townsend, on February 28, Russian aircraft struck Kurdish positions ‘in the area of al-Bab’ and this bombardment was spotted by the US Special Forces, which immediately phoned the Russian Command through special channels. The Russians allegedly immediately conceded a mistake, and the airstrikes were stopped.
The Lieutenant General did not point out an exact place of the airstrike, but mentioned that ‘the regime’s forces and the Turkish Army also were conducting an offensive there’. If so, then the region of the airstrike is located in a place of convergence of three fronts and can be quite accurately localized – 17-18 kilometers to the south-west of Manbij city, between the villages of Jubb al Hamir and Beza’a.
On February 28, the Russian air power could not carry out airstrikes in the above-noted area not only mistakenly, but in general, in principle. A breakthrough of the Syrian Army to the Kurdish positions had already been finished by this time (the area, controlled by pro-Turkish militants, was blocked on February 27), and, by the time of the alleged airstrike, the frontline has not undergone any changes there almost during a day. The sides of the conflict tried to conduct offensive operations, but there were not significant changes on the frontline, and it was extremely difficult to mix up positions of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group with others.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied any information about the carrying out of airstrikes on Kurds. In its statement, the Defense Department pointed out that on February 28, there really was a contact with the US side about a possible carrying out of an inadvertent airstrike on armed groups, allied to the US. During the contact, there were not any accusations of carrying out of an airstrike, only exact coordinates of the Kurdish positions were reported in order to avoid any mistakes.
“This information was taken into account by the Russian Command. No airstrikes were carried out by the Syrian or Russian air powers on areas, pointed out by the US side,” the Russian Defense Ministry noted.
On February 28, the Russian Aerospace Forces provided air support to the Syrian Army, fighting against IS terrorists for the villages of Khalis and Taykha, however, these populated localities are located enough far from the Kurdish positions.
At the same time, none Kurdish source does not report about airstrikes, carried out by the Russian air power. Kurds absolutely unequivocally accused the Turkish Air Force and artillery of strikes on their positions.
Perhaps, the US just needed to cover Turkey’s actions against Kurds. However, it is difficult to do, as Ankara’s aggressive intentions in Syria are too obvious to be hidden. Currently, active negotiations on Syrian Kurds between US and Turkish military are held, and it is still unclear in what agreement they will result. The Turkish Army intends to take part in the storming of Raqqa city, but the Pentagon has already said that Raqqa will be likely taken by Kurds, as there are no other combat-ready forces in the region.