Russian airstrike kills 3 Turkish soldiers in Syria by accident

Miranda GreerFeb 13, 2017

Turkey's units entered central al-Bab, the operation is being conducted in coordination with Russian Federation to prevent clashes with Syrian government forces. "Initial information shows this was an accident. and an undesired incident as a result of incorrect information, coordinates", Mr Kurtulmus said in televised comments.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded the advance of Turkish troops into northern Syria in what he called a drive to cleanse a 3,000-square-mile swath of territory of militants and Kurdish fighters. An official in a military alliance fighting in support of the Syrian government confirmed the news.

Turkey will not stop until whole border region is cleared from ISIL, Turkish president says, as troops enter Al Bab.

The two countries had a ferocious falling-out after a Turkish jet shot down a Russian plane on the Syrian border in November 2015, but have since mended ties and begun cooperation over Syria.

"Moreover, control has been regained over the road to Raqqa, along which ISIS military groups in the town of Al-Bab have been supplied with weapons and ammunition", the Russian defense ministry said. The capital of Daesh is not al-Bab, but Raqqa.

He also said Turkish forces had no plans to stay in Syria once the area had been cleared of both IS and Kurdish YPG militia fighters, whom his government sees as a hostile force.

A military source told Xinhua on Saturday that the Syrian army is a few kilometers away from al-Bab, adding that IS militants have executed 40 civilians in the city over the past 24 hours, for unclear reasons.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier this week that clashes with Syrian forces had been avoided thanks to global coordination, including that between Turkey and Russian Federation.

There was no immediate comment from Damascus on the reported clashes.

The Russian defense ministry said chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov and his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, had spoken to one another on the phone to "agree on closer coordination of joint actions".

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