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Russia denies targeting Turkish troops in Al-Bab, Syria

Turkey's deputy prime minister said Monday that it was not Russian jets which carried out a deadly attack on Turkish troops last week close to the northern Syrian city of Al-Bab

"Russia has confirmed directly, by Mr. [President Vladimir] Putin, that the jets which conducted that attack did not belong to them," Numan Kurtulmus said after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.

On Nov. 24, three Turkish soldiers were martyred and 10 wounded in an air attack which the Turkish military said was carried out by the Syrian Air Force jets.

The troops were in the region as part of the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield, launched by Turkey in late August to rid the northern Syrian border area of terrorists.

Kurtulmus said they would take necessary steps after all air travel data have been analyzed.

Stating that Turkey is following all developments in Syria, he referred to the priorities in Operation Euphrates Shield.

"The most significant thing is to clear the 5,000-square kilometer area of ISIS."

Number two, he said, is the advance of the PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Afrin and Manbij west of the Euphrates River.

Turkish authorities have repeatedly said that the PYD must vacate the west bank of the Euphrates and warned allies about the PYD's goals in the region.

A PYD advance would harm Turkey's national interests in the region, Kurtulmus said and stressed Ankara’s determination on the matter.

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