‘A shelling incident in Syria in which Ankara said six of its soldiers were killed may have been caused by the failure of the Turkish side to warn about the movement of their convoy, the Russian military said.
“Units of the Turkish military conducted movement within the Idlib de-escalation zone during the nighttime from February 2 to February 3 without informing the Russian side and came under fire by the Syrian government troops, which were targeting terrorists west of Saraqib,” the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said on Monday.
The statement stressed that there are established lines of communications between Russian forces in Syria and the Turkish command. It added that Turkish aircraft did not enter the Syrian airspace after the incident, contrary to some reports in the Turkish media, which said Ankara ordered airstrikes at Syrian positions in retaliation for the shelling.
The Turkish Defense Ministry earlier reported that four soldiers were killed and nine others injured in the shelling incident. The death toll rose to six later in the day.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded quickly, promising to continue retaliating heavily to any attacks against Turkish forces in Syria’s Idlib Province.
Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling party, rejected the words of the Russian ministry, saying it was “not correct.”
“Turkey is providing regular and instant information to Russia. It also informed them of this latest event,” he tweeted. “It is not true to say information was not shared. The mechanisms in place were utilized as always.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to the incident by stressing that Turkish and Russian military commanders are “in a constant contact” over Idlib, reiterating the military’s remarks.’