President Vladimir Putin has sent condolences after a Russian air strike accidentally killed three Turkish soldiers in northern Syria.


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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. Eleven others were wounded in the so-called friendly fire incident.

They were supporting Syrian rebels who are locked in a fierce battle to try to capture al-Bab from IS fighters.

Russia and Turkey, who back opposing sides in the Syrian war, have been jointly conducting air strikes on IS in the town in recent weeks.


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The Russian aircraft had been planning to hit IS targets but “by accident three of our soldiers were martyred when a building was bombed where our units were,” Turkey’s military said.

The Kremlin has issued a statement (in Russian) saying President Putin had, in a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart, “expressed condolences over a tragic incident which resulted in the deaths of several Turkish troops in the al-Bab area”.


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