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Russian Federation and Turkey offer conflicting reports on Turkish soldiers' death

Russian Federation and Turkey offer conflicting reports on Turkish soldiers' death”

Russian warplanes bombed a Turkish army unit operating in Syria on Thursday morning, killing three Turkish soldiers.

President Vladimir Putin promptly called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to express regrets over what the Russian leader called a "tragic incident".

Russian Federation intervened to halt a clash between Syrian government forces and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels in northern Syria, sources on both sides said on Friday, the first confrontation between them as both sides fight Islamic State in the area.

That came after the Kremlin said the airstrikes had been launched based on coordinates provided by the Turkish army.

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The Turkish military said it regularly shared information with Russian Federation about its operations in Syria as part of a deal in place with Moscow.

The two sides are said to have confronted each other in a push to oust ISIL out of the city of al-Bab, the extremist group's last major stronghold in Aleppo province.

Russian Federation and Turkey have backed opposing sides in the war but recently started cooperating over Syria, brokering a truce between government forces and rebels and working together to try to revive peace talks. An official in a military alliance fighting in support of the Syrian government confirmed a clash had taken place. Russia and Turkey have agreed to combat ISIL in Syria together, and the Russians have apologised for the incident.

The deaths from Thursday's airstrike raise the number of Turkish troops killed in Turkey's operation in Syria to 64.

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There was no immediate comment from Damascus on the reported clashes.

The Kremlin spokesman said on Friday the air strikes were based on coordinates provided to Russian Federation by the Turkish military.

The spokesperson noted that United States personnel are not working with Turkish counterparts near al-Bab at the moment.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested that once Al-Bab was captured Turkey and its allies could send special forces to take Raqa, the jihadists' de facto capital to the southwest.

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