Russian Airstrike Accidentally Kills Three Turkish Soldiers in Syria

Strike Was Meant to Support Turkish Offensive Against ISIS

by Jason Ditz, February 09, 2017

Russia has been providing intermittent air support to the Turkish military for weeks in their offensive against the ISIS-held city of al-Bab, and officials thought today would be no different, when a Russian plane zeroed in on what it thought was an ISIS-occupied building.

It turns out the building was actually full of Turkish soldiers, and the attack killed three of them, wounding another 11. Russia was quick to issue condolences for the attack, saying it was a tragic mistake. Both sides have promised a joint investigation into what happened.

Turkish forces had reportedly made some gains in al-Bab earlier in the day, which was the first time in some time that they’d moved the front lines. This may have been the reason for the incident, as Russian forces may not have been fully aware that the building in question had changed hands.

Either way, both Russian and Turkish officials are downplaying the incident, saying it won’t impact their ongoing cooperation against ISIS in northern Syria. Turkey and Russia are also the main brokers of an ongoing ceasefire in Syria which had led to some peace talks.

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