London [UK], Feb. 10: A Russian airstrike in northern Syria killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded 11 others on Thursday, in a friendly fire incident that could test the shaky coordination between the two countries in the fight against the Islamic State.
According to the Guardian, Russia and Turkey both described the morning attack as accidental, saying a bomb hit a building used by Turkish troops near the northern Syrian town of al-Bab.
Turkish forces are launching an offensive to retake the town from the Islamic State. The two countries quickly took steps to limit fallout from the incident. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone call and blamed the strike on poor coordination, according to a Kremlin spokesman.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the strike was meant to hit Islamic State targets. The deaths added to a heavy toll suffered by Turkish troops embroiled in an increasingly complicated and bloody fight to help Syrian rebels capture al-Bab from the Islamic State.
Five died on Wednesday, and the latest deaths brought the number of Turkish soldiers killed in the two-month battle to more than 60.