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Turkey gave target for mistaken Syria strike

11 February 2017

The strike hit a building near the town of al-Bab, believing it to contain Islamic State (IS) fighters rather than Turkish troops, Turkey's military said. "On February 9, around 08:40 local time (05:40 GMT) a bomb dropped by a Russian warplane targeting the IS facilities, hit a building where there were several Turkish military servicemen", Turkey's General Staff said in a statement. Both Turkey and Russian Federation have announced they will investigate the incident thoroughly.

Either way, both Russian and Turkish officials are downplaying the incident, saying it won't impact their ongoing cooperation against ISIS in northern Syria.

The Kremlin said the both sides have agreed to step up their military coordination in Syria.

John Dorrian, spokesman for the US -led coalition in Iraq and Syria, said that Turkey's efforts to defeat Daesh in al-Bab are significant.

The Kremlin earlier said that the air strikes were launched based on coordinates provided by the Turkish army but that Turkish soldiers were not supposed to have been at the location.

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Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed that the airstrike had killed the Turkish soldiers on Thursday.

Reports suggest the rebels and government forces have reached an accommodation over al-Bab, orchestrated by Syria's key alley, Russia.

It came as the new Central Intelligence Agency chief, Mike Pompeo, was in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials on issues including Syria, on his first foreign visit since the inauguration of U.S. president Donald Trump.

Turkey's relations with Russia have improved greatly since the downing of a Russian jet on the Turkish border previous year. With Turkey-backed FSA fighters closing in on the town from the north, east and west, the Assad regime closed in on al-Bab from the south.

In a signal that the incident hasn't hurt a Russia-Turkey rapprochement, Peskov said on Friday that Erdogan is set to visit Russia next month.