Turkey, Russia Offer Different Explanations for Botched Syria Airstrike

Turkey Insists Russia Had Coordinates of Turkish Troops

While Turkey and Russia were both very conciliatory over yesterday’s botched airstrike in the Syrian city of al-Bab, in which a Russian warplane accidentally killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded 11, the two nations are offering very contradictory stories on what actually happened.

The Turkish government insists they provided coordinates to the Russian government on the location of the troops, who were inside a recently captured building. The Russian government, by contrast, says Turkey provided them with the coordinates of the building as a target to be bombed.

This could ultimately be a misunderstanding from one side or the other on what the coordinates represented, though it’s a particularly embarrassing incident as the two nations have been increasingly cooperating against ISIS forces in al-Bab.

Turkey has been trying to capture al-Bab for well over a month, but unsuccessfully. Turkey had initially sought US air support for the campaign, though delays over a decision gave Russian forces an opportunity to step in, bolstering their cooperation at a time when Turkey and Russia are coordinating on peace talks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.