An airstrike carried out by the United States killed more than 20 civilians in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed Tuesday.
Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov said that an airstrike from a U.S. B-52 Bomber killed 20 civilians on Jan. 3.
“The latest example of this is the Jan. 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," Gerasimov said. "Over 20 civilians died as a result of the airstrike.”
In a statement from Jan. 5, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said that initial assessments of the Jan. 3 strike “killed more than 15 al-Qaida militants and destroyed six vehicles and nine structures.” The Pentagon has made no further statement on the incident, and Russia did not elaborate any further on the accusations.
Gerasimov also made reference to U.S. a wayward airstrike from September, which he said killed Syrian government forces and led to an advance by the Islamic State group. The Russian general also added that the U.S.-led coalition in Syria had recorded large numbers of civilian and Syrian government casualties and so far its military strategy has not achieved “any meaningful results.”
Gerasimov said the bombing campaign that Russia started in September “has turned the tide of the Syrian war.” Russia announced last week that it would be winding down its military presence in the conflict that has raged since 2011. A nationwide ceasefire — while fragile — appears to be holding up.