Russia Says US Failed to Provide Syrian Opposition Locations

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, second from left, visits a Syrian air facility on June 18, where Russian warplanes are based. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, second from left, visits a Syrian air facility on June 18, where Russian warplanes are based. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP)

MOSCOW -- The Russian military has rejected the Pentagon's accusations that it targeted U.S.-backed Syrian opposition forces, saying the U.S. failed to warn about their locations.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said the area targeted in the June16 strike was 300 kilometers (186 miles) away from locations earlier designated by the U.S. as controlled by legitimate opposition forces.

The Pentagon said Russian warplanes struck Syrian opposition forces fighting the Islamic State group in Al-Tanf.

Konashenkov said in his June 19 statement that the Russian military had warned the U.S. in advance about the planned strike, but the Pentagon had failed to provide coordinates of legitimate opposition forces.

On a conciliatory note, he added that Saturday's video conference with the Pentagon was "constructive," reflecting a shared desire to improve coordination and avoid incidents.

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