Erdogan says Turkish troops inside Syria's Al-Bab

Pro-Syrian government forces walk in the northern province of Aleppo

Earlier in the day, the Turkish General Staff said that an accidental Russian airstrike killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded 11 others in northern Syria. "Initial information shows this was an accident. and an undesired incident as a result of incorrect information, coordinates", Mr Kurtulmus said in televised comments.

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in August 2016 to maintain border security citing ISIS terrorism and a desire to deny the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a safe haven in Kurdish areas of northern Syria. Ankara is already under fire for supporting militants operating against the Syrian government.

Chief of the Russian General Staff General Valery Gerasimov held telephone talks with his Turkish counterpart, during which the issues of the fight against worldwide terrorist groups in Syria and the situation in the northeast of the province of Aleppo were discussed.

Another fight against IS is raging in east and northeast Syria, where Kurdish troops, backed by the United States, are advancing against the IS in the militants' de facto capital of Raqqa.

On Saturday, Turkey's military forces and allied Syrian rebels entered the city of al-Bab for the first time after months of clashes with ISIS.

The Syrian army and its military operations in the Northern and Eastern parts of Aleppo province will wrap up the case with al-Bab and put an end to the water crisis of the city of Aleppo that runs through al-Bab.

Al-Bab is one of ISIL's last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border.

The advance on al-Bab risks putting Turkish troops in direct conflict with Syrian government forces, who are closing in on the city from the south. It is now up to Turkey, Russia and Iran to demonstrate whether they can mediate a stable outcome for the town, or whether the front will dissolve into open warfare.

Violence has also beset rebel- and opposition-held areas, including in Homs, where at least nine civilians were killed in suspected Russian or government airstrikes on Wednesday.

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