Turkey rejects Russian claim it is responsible for death of soldiers in Syria

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Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart Gerasimov met in 2016 following the easing of tensions between the two countries.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has denied Russia’s claim that the coordinates which led to the death of three Turkish soldiers in a Russian airstrike in Syria’s al-Bab on Thursday were given by its generals.

In a statement on Friday, the TAF said Turkish forces had been at the same spot for 10 days and that they had provided the Russian’s with the coordinates a day before the attack.

“As part of the agreement signed between the sides on 12 January 2017, the Turkish Armed Forces has been providing its Russian interlocutors with regular information to prevent both sides from inflicting any damage on one another. Our forces who were hit in an airstrike on 9 February have been at the same spot for 10 days. Following a rocket attack from the area where Russia Federation forces are stationed, to a point where friendly elements are based on 8 February, we again provided the responsible personnel at the Operation Centre in Hmeimim at 23.11 [local time] with the coordinates of where are forces were,” the statement read.

Dmitry Peskov, the Russian Press Secretary for Russian President Putin said earlier on Friday said “the unfortunate incident” had happened because, “there wasn’t supposed to be any Turkish soldiers inside these coordinates” give by Turkish generals.

Vladimir Putin shared his condolences with his counterpart Erdogan but there have been no reports of an apology.

Three Turkish soldiers died and 11 were injured after a Russian warplane hit Turkish positions in northern Syria’s al-Bab early Thursday morning. Kom News broke the news to the English speaking world, however confusion remained as to who had carried out the attack, with the Syrian army reported as the possible aggressor.