11 February, 2017
At 8:40 a.m. local time on February 9, a Russian fighter plane on a sortie against the Islamic State erroneously hit a building in the town of Al-Bab that was occupied by Turkish troops, reads a statement on the Turkish Armed Forces website.
The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had called Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and expressed his condolences over the air strike, blaming the incident on poor coordination between Moscow and Ankara.
The statement said that eleven people were wounded in the strike. Both Turkey and Russian Federation have announced they will investigate the incident thoroughly.
Turkey-backed-opposition fighters advance on the western outskirts of the northern Syrian city of al-Bab.
The two leaders agreed to "increase military co-operation during operations in Syria against IS militants and other extremist organisations".
We acted upon the coordinates given by Turkish side.
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Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists that the Turkish servicemen were killed as a result of mistaken coordinates during the Russian air strike.
Syrian government forces, meanwhile, are also closing in on IS from the south, where fierce fighting is reported.
They were supporting Syrian rebels who are locked in a fierce battle to try to capture al-Bab from IS fighters.
Russia has cut the number of airstrikes and withdrawn the majority of its troops since December 2016 when it, together with Turkey and Iran, brokered a truce in Syria, but a high-ranking military official said Russian jets will continue to support anti-terrorist missions there. According to the General Staff, the accident occurred in the al-Bab city area, northern Syria. Speaking to the NTV television channel on Wednesday, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said the Turkish military is in contact with Russian authorities to avoid any encounter with the Assad regime on the ground.
If the Syrians and the Turks - backed in this case by the Russians - can be brought to fight ISIS together in Al-Bab, then with 5,000 of its fighters apparently trapped in the town the organisation could be facing its biggest ever military defeat in the Syrian war.