According to Russian ministry of Defense a United States B-52 fighter jet had bombed the city of Idlib in Syria killing more than 20 civilians on January 3.
Valery Gerasimov, the Russian Chief of the General Staff condemned the strike and strongly criticized the western coalition, he said, “They have failed to achieve any meaningful results, at the same time, significant numbers of victims among the civilian population and government forces were reported.”
The RIA Novosti news agency reported that Valery Gerasimov said: “As we remember, in September last year, the US aviation carried out an attack in the Deir-ez-Zor targeting government forces. After this attack, Islamic State started its advance.
“The latest example of this is the January 3 airstrike, when a B-52 bomber – without warning the Russian side – hit a target in the town of Sarmada, Idlib Province, which is covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement. Over 20 civilians died as a result of the airstrike.”
The United States led coalition has regularly performed airstrikes in Syria, in September 2016 62 Syrian soldiers were killed near the Deir ez-Zor airport. It was an important supply conduit and the Islamic State was besieging it at that time.
Regarding this strike the US central Command said in November: “The incident was an unintentional, regrettable error and it was primarily based on human factors.”
There is a “de-confliction” hotline between Russia and United States and according to Russian officials they were informed about the attack but the location was wrong.
When Russian authorities called the hotline to inform the US of their error they were put on hold for 27 minutes, the bombing continued all that time and once the US officer became available and the message went through it stopped.
Valery Gerasimov said during a meeting on Tuesday that the operations carried out by Russian air force has made a huge impact, he also told that since September 2015 almost 200 oil-extracting facilities have been destroyed that belonged to IS along with 174 oil plants and 111 oil trucks.
He said: “This allowed not only to breach the IS supply system, but also to deprive them of their main income.
“All strikes are carried out only after the confirmation of data from several sources, including the space intelligence and drones.”