The United States has told Russia broad areas in which U.S. special forces are operating in Syria and asked them not to strike there, U.S. military officials said on Thursday.

The move marks a step up in U.S.-Russian military coordination in Syria, which the United States had previously said was limited to a mechanism to avoid accidents in the air as both countries undertake bombing campaigns there.

Lieutenant General Charles Brown, the head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, disclosed the request at a Thursday news briefing at the Pentagon.

“We told them (the Russians) these are … general areas where we have coalition forces that we don’t want them to strike there, because all it’s going to do is escalate things,” Brown said. “It’s really just to maintain the safety for our forces that are both in the air and in this case on the ground.”

The United States announced in October it would deploy dozens of special operators in northern Syria to advise opposition forces in their fight against the militant group Islamic State.

A senior U.S. defense official said at the time that the United States had not notified Russia of the special forces’ location in Syria, but was open to doing so in order to keep the troops safe.

Russia launched air strikes in Syria last year saying it was targeting Islamic State militants. But rebels on the ground and Western officials say the strikes have mainly targeted moderate rebel groups not associated with Islamic State, including U.S.-trained fighters.

Major powers agreed last week to a limited cessation of hostilities in Syria in a deal that takes effect at the end of this week. Russia says the “cessation” does not apply to its air strikes, which have shifted the balance of power toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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The United States has not shared with the Russians specific locations or times of the U.S. special operators’ movements, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Thursday. The request was made via the two countries’ defense ministries, and U.S. Secretary Ash Carter was aware of the request, Cook said.

“We provided (the Russians) a geographical area that we asked them to stay out of because of the risk to U.S. forces,” Cook said. “Up to this point they have honored this request.”

He declined to comment specifically on the timing of the request.

 

Reuters

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ziad
Regular
Commenter
Upvoted
ziad
2016-02-19 07:06

the only reason the US is now spilling the beans is because they know russian air forces will start pounding eastern areas where there assholes are,,and w*f are they doing there illegally to begin with???? what is there mission and please russia dont fall for the “helping advise how to defeat isis ” BS ,,kill all these fucks and tell them it was an accident and mis judgment like they always do,russia as i figured might be a problem because of there reluctancy to strike the yanks but the SAA will def not hold back so what will russia do… Read more »

Priyankar Calicut
Priyankar Calicut
2016-02-19 07:07

If they don’t helping Syrian government army, why they stay there?

Roy Lanek
Roy Lanek
2016-02-19 07:07

Cook [Pentagon spokesman and a proved wimp—e.g “RU won’t change strategy in SY in accordance w/ Pentagon’s RECOMMENDATIONS”]:

Marios Nicolaou
Marios Nicolaou
2016-02-19 09:01

Did they say pretty please with sugar on top

Aenea Endymion
Aenea Endymion
2016-02-19 08:50

#US boots on the ground in #Syria are completely breaching international laws : what are they secretely doing? Support #ISIS

Willy Van Damme
Regular
Commenter
Upvoted
Willy Van Damme
2016-02-19 09:26

You use Reuters and AFP but these news organizations are very biased spreading propaganda. No problem to use them but please rectify them where needed. For instance Reuters always uses this Syrian observatory, a one man band from the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, without stating it belongs to the rebel movement. Something obvious from a first look on it’s website. This should be stated that they are part of the opposition. Also these media always claim about Russia writing as here: ‘Russia launched air strikes in Syria last year saying it was targeting Islamic State militants. But rebels on the ground… Read more »

Igor
Igor
2016-02-19 12:05

those areas should be bombed with nukes.

LORD
LORD
2016-02-19 15:06

what the h**l are US special forces doing in Syria

Backing ISIS…

Angelique Rockas
Angelique Rockas
2016-02-19 16:30

US special forces in Syria since 2011 and still there -get out @PressSec @POTUS @USEmbassySyria @AmbassadorPower @StateDept