02/10/2017, 09.12
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Russian raid kills three Turkish soldiers. Moscow and Ankara strengthen their cooperation on Syria

Russian jest hit a building near the town of al-Bab. Inside there were no militants of the Islamic State, but Ankara soldiers. 11 soldiers wounded. Putin calls Erdogan to express "sadness and sorrow." Both fronts have opened an investigation to clarify the sequence of events.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Moscow and Ankara intend to strengthen and improve military collaboration in Syria, in a joint struggle against jihadist groups and, in particular, the Islamic state (IS) in the north of the country. The decision follows the serious accident yesterday, in which three Turkish soldiers died and 11 others were injured as a result of Russian "friendly fire".

According to preliminary reports a Russian fighter stationed in Syria hit a building in which there were alleged jihadist; in fact the building was occupied by the Ankara army troops, hit by the missiles launched from the jet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing "sadness and sorrow" over the incident. Both fronts have opened an investigation to clarify the sequence of events.

In a statement released by the Kremlin, Putin and Erdogan say they agreed on the need to "strengthen  military coordination", in continuing the joint effort against jihadist groups in Syria. Ankara does not want to reveal the place where the accident occurred; Moscow explained that it occurred "near al-Bab", a town north of Aleppo where Russian forces are engaged in a series of air raids.

From time Russia and Turkey - in the past on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict – are working together to ensure a lasting peace in the country, and at the same time carrying on a common effort against terrorist groups. A radical change of strategy and alliances between Moscow and Ankara, after a period of tensions following the shooting down of a Russian fighter on the border between Turkey and Syria in November of 2015.

The two sides, along with Iran, also mediated the peace talks in Astana, the first "direct" meeting between representatives of the Syrian government and representatives of the opposition committed on the battlefield. Now the focus shifts to Geneva, where by the end of the month a new summit under the aegis of the United Nations is due to be held.

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