Syrian regime strikes 'kill Turkish soldiers' near al-Bab

Syrian regime strikes 'kill Turkish soldiers' near al-Bab
Turkey has claimed Assad's forces were behind a deadly airstrike in northern Syria - the first time Ankara has blamed the Syrian regime for an attack on its fighters
2 min read
24 November, 2016
This is the first time Turkey has pointed the finger at the Syrian government [Getty]
Turkey has blamed the Syrian regime for an airstrike that killed three soldiers and wounded ten, its army said in a statement.

Three soldiers were killed in the attack in the al-Bab region at 3.30am (00.30 GMT) on Thursday.

"In the airstrike assessed to have been by Syrian regime forces, three of our heroic soldiers were killed and 10 soldiers wounded, one seriously," a statement on the Turkey military's website said.

Initial reports claimed the Islamic State group were behind the strike.

This is the first time the army has blamed President Bashar al-Assad's regime for an attack killing Turkish soldiers during Ankara's three month operation - dubbed Euphrates Shield - in northern Syria.

Hundreds of Turkish soldiers are taking part in the operation supporting Syrian opposition fighters to retake territory from IS and fight Syrian-Kurdish militias close to the border.

The latest deaths brings the toll to at least 15 Turkish soldiers killed since the operation began.

Most were killed by IS but one soldier was killed in an attack blamed on the Kurdish People's Protection Forces (YPG).

Forces have so far liberated Jarabulus, al-Rai and Dabiq.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week said the rebels were pushing forward with the aim of taking al-Bab.

"We reached al-Bab right now and besieged it from the west," the president said in a speech Tuesday.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Turkish air raids and shelling as part of the operation have killed 96 civilians - including 22 children.