Russian aircraft are believed to have destroyed an outpost near the Jordanian border used by British and US special forces.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “alarm bells sounded at the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence in London” when Russian aircraft bombed a remote garrison used by western special forces in southeastern Syria last month.
The Russian target was a base of operations for American and British forces.
It is understood that a contingent of about 20 British special forces had pulled out of the garrison 24 hours earlier.
Russian pilots had reportedly struck the outpost because they thought it was an Islamic State base.
The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that between the initiation of the intervention in September 2015 and February 2016, Russian air strikes have killed 1,000 civilians, including 200 children; the Russian government denies this and these claims cannot be independently verified. Russian military intervention has however produced significant gains for the Syrian Army against Islamic State and rebel forces, including the recapture of Palmyra in March 2016.
At the start of this month, a Russian Mi-35, according to some sources) was shot down by fire from a US-made BGM-71 TOW east of Palmyra, with two Russian pilots confirmed dead. A few days after, Russia announced it had employed strategic Tu-22M3 bombers, for the first time since the partial ceasefire came into force in February, to deliver airstrikes on terrorist targets.