(TASS) Russian President Vladimir Putin conveyed his condolences and expressed regret over the death of three Turkish military servicemen near the Syrian city of al-Bab, there is no dispute over the accident,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“As for this accident, its cause is unclear, but there is no dispute over it,” the Russian presidential spokesman said. “The president has conveyed his condolences and expressed regret over what happened.”
Peskov emphasized the agreement reached by the chiefs of the two countries’ general staff which stipulates immediate measures aimed at improving the mechanisms of information coordination between Russia and Turkey during joint operations.
“Unfortunately, while on a combat mission, our pilots were acting based on coordinates received from their Turkish partners, there should have been no Turkish military servicemen in the area,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “This is why the accidental airstrike took place.”
According to Peskov, after coordination mechanisms are improved, “the two countries will have a chance to avoid such accidental airstrikes which could lead to such losses.”
The Russian presidential spokesman declined to say the accident had been caused by a mistake made by the Turkish intelligence. He noted that Moscow viewed it as “an inconsistency in providing coordinates.”
At the same time, Peskov did not give a direct answer when asked if this story was over. “I can’t answer this question, I can only say that the cause of the accident has been established, the two presidents and chiefs of general staff have discussed the issue, the Russian president has conveyed his condolences,” he said.
Peksov also pointed out that Putin and Erdogan had exchanged views on bilateral relations during a telephone conversation, focusing on preparations for the meeting of the High-Level Cooperation Council scheduled to be held in Russia in March.