Air strikes targeted a Turkish army convoy inside a rebel-held part of northwestern Syria on Monday, killing three civilians and wounding 12 others, the Turkish Defence Ministry said.
The ministry “strongly condemned” the air raids, saying they were contrary to “existing agreements as well as our cooperation and dialogue with Russia”. It also called for “urgent measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Turkey said the convoy was heading to one of its observation posts in Morek in northwest Syria, but the Syrian government said it had entered the country carrying ammunition to help opposition fighters who have lost ground this month amid a Russian-backed military push to retake the country’s last rebel-held area.
Syrian troops, backed by Russia, launched the offensive to retake Idlib and surrounding rebel-held areas in late April.
Turkey’s local allies, the so-called Syrian National Army, were recently seen heading to the frontlines to help fight the government’s military push.
The incident ratcheted up tensions in the region, a current ground zero in Syria’s long-running civil war in which Turkish, Russian, US and Iranian interests are fighting.
Ankara backs some of the rebels in northwest Syria and has deployed forces into the Idlib region under deals with Moscow, the most powerful ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.