Russian and Syrian aircraft mistakenly bombed members of us -backed Syrian forces near the Syrian town of al-Bab, with USA troops just a few kilometers away, a top us general in Iraq said.
"I don't foresee us bringing in large numbers of coalition troops, mainly because what we're doing is, in fact, working", Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend told a Pentagon news briefing, speaking via video conference from Baghdad.
US forces on the ground less than three miles from the site reportedly observed the strike and alerted the Russian military through an emergency line, after which the bombing stopped, he continued.
"It became apparent that the strikes were falling on some of the Syrian Arab Coalition positions and some quick calls were made to our deconfliction channels and the Russians acknowledged and stopped - stopped bombing there".
Townsend, who commands US forces in Iraq and Syria, said these groups are "bumping up against each other" around the city, adding "three armies and an enemy force have all converged within the same grid square, so it's very hard and complicated" to know just who is where.
The mistake in northern Syria highlights the complexity of the Syrian battlefield, where numerous forces with differing agendas are engaged in fighting.
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The incident on Tuesday marked the second time in a month that Russian aircraft mistakenly attacked friendly forces.
In this photo taken on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, Russian SU-24M jet fighter armed with laser guided bombs takes off from a runaway at Hmeimim airbase in Syria.
The U.S.is backing a force of Syrian Arabs and Kurds that is closing in on Raqqa, the de-facto capital in Syria of the Islamic State, which is also called ISIS.
Townsend said the bombings occurred south and east of al-Bab. In addition, there is the Syrian Arab Coalition backed by the U.S. They are expected to include new deployments for some USA troops.
Ankara does not want armed Kurds, whom they consider terrorists, to take part in the fight for Raqqa, but USA military leaders have said that they are the most reliable fighting force on the ground in Syria.