U.S. and Russian military leaders clashed on social media Thursday after Moscow claimed the U.S. struck Aleppo in Syria on Wednesday and the U.S. firmly denied the charge.
The Russian Ministry of Defense tweeted Thursday: “Yesterday at 13:55 (MSK), 2 A-10 attack aircraft of US AF entered Syrian airspace from Turkish territory made strikes on objects in city.”
The spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria fired back on Twitter a little while later.
“.@MOD_Russia’s tweets are wrong. Furthermore their bombing is reckless and indiscriminate and their efforts are strategically short-sighted,” tweeted Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve.
But Russia had harsh words for Warren, too.
“#SYRIA Col. Warren is to be disappointed—Rus aircraft didn’t work near #ALEPPO yesterday. Nearest target was more than 20 km far from city,” the Defense Ministry tweeted.
Andalou Agency News, a Turkish news service, highlighted the exchange.
It comes amidst continued verbal sparring and accusations between the two powers over the purpose of their military activity in the region. The U.S. has criticized Russia for backing Syrian government forces around Aleppo, while Russia said Wednesday that two U.S. A-10 fighter planes struck Aleppo.
But the Pentagon said American aircraft were never in the area.
“There were no Coalition airstrikes in or near Aleppo on Wednesday, February 10. Any claim that the coalition had aircraft in the area is a fabrication,” Warren said Thursday.
Aleppo has been a flashpoint for both sides in the ongoing fighting in Syria. Russia said it targeted 1,900 “terrorist facilities” last week and that Aleppo was a prime focus. But the U.S. and its allies have said the Russian strikes have cut off the people of Aleppo from vital food and humanitarian supplies.
Secretary of State John Kerry and the President’s envoy on ISIS have also accused Russia of “enabling” ISIS by hampering moderate rebel fighters.
Still, Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov sat civilly side by side Thursday night after reaching a ceasefire agreement for Syria.