Deputy Prime Minister: Russian Jets did Not Target Turkish Troops in Syria
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stated that Russian jets were not at all responsible for the November 24 airstrike that killed four Turkish troops near the ISIS-held Syrian city of al-Bab.
“Russia has confirmed directly, by Mr. [Vladimir] Putin, that the jets which conducted that attack did not belong to them,” Kurtulmuş said following a cabinet meeting in Ankara.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had two phone calls with Putin on Friday and Saturday about this issue. Russia believes a light Syrian attack plane was responsible for the strike.
As part of its Euphrates Shield operation against ISIS in northwest Syria, Turkey is backing an army of Syrian rebels who are outside al-Bab.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım vowed to retaliate against Damascus shortly after the attack. Kurtulmuş was less direct on Monday however, saying that Turkey would take necessary steps after “confirming” flight records which showed that an “aircraft or drone” was responsible for the attack.