Russian President Vladimir Putin has apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a Russian airstrike that both governments claim accidentally struck a building in Syria occupied by Turkish soldiers.
Most reports, and the official statement from Turkey’s government, say three Turkish troops were killed and another 10 or 11 wounded in the incident, although EuroNews states there were five fatalities.
The Turkish military has claimed “significant progress” in liberating the key town of al-Bab from the Islamic State. “Currently the town is besieged from every side. The outer districts of the town have been brought under control,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on Wednesday.
The troops killed by Russia’s airstrike were supporting Syrian rebels in the battle against ISIS around al-Bab, with the ultimate goal of driving both the Islamic State and Kurdish forces farther away from the southern border of Turkey, as the BBC reports.
The Russians say they were attempting to strike ISIS positions when they hit the building occupied by Turkish forces. The Kremlin stated that President Putin “expressed condolences over a tragic incident which resulted in the deaths of several Turkish troops in the al-Bab area” in a phone call to President Erdogan. Read more