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Moscow, Ankara to enhance coordination after Russian airstrike kills Turkish soldiers

11 February 2017

Moscow and Ankara agree that the outcome of the airstrike, which killed three Turkish soldiers and injured 11 others in northern Syria on Thursday, was not deliberate and was due to miscommunication on the positioning data, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Under the pretext of fighting the "Islamic State" the Turkish forces mainly attack Syrian Kurds.

Following the bombing, Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to offer his condolences over the "tragic" incident.

The Kremlin earlier said that the air strikes were launched based on coordinates provided by the Turkish army but that Turkish soldiers were not supposed to have been at the location. "On February 9, around 08:40 local time (05:40 GMT) a bomb dropped by a Russian warplane targeting the IS facilities, hit a building where there were several Turkish military servicemen", Turkey's General Staff said in a statement.

Besides Russia and Turkey, the foreign powers embroiled in Syria´s increasingly convoluted six-year-old war include members of a US -led coalition fighting Islamic State as well as Lebanon´s Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias.

As EuroNews reports, President Erdogan has been touting a cooperative plan for capturing the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria, as well as plans for the sort of Syrian "safe zones" envisioned by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The two countries have since repaired relations, and the Kremlin statement on Thursday said the two leaders had agreed to step up military coordination against Daesh terrorist group. The relationship between Ankara and Damascus will be clarified soon since Syrian forces are also advancing on the city of al-Bab.

"Later on Russian Federation intervened to calm down the situation", said the rebel official. Putin also promised better coordination in the future to avoid such incidents. Ankara has been having serious problems with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners, the burden of unresolved domestic political disagreements is piling ever higher, and the country is in dire need of support in its continuing fight against the Islamic State.

Before Thursday's casualties were reported, the Dogan news agency said 66 Turkish soldiers had been killed in the operation since August, mostly in attacks by ISIL.

A joint Russian, Turkish, and Iranian group was set up in Astana on February 6 to monitor the current ceasefire in Syria.

Moscow, Ankara to enhance coordination after Russian airstrike kills Turkish soldiers