A Russian plane bombed a building in Syria today, killing three Turkish soldiers.

The accident came one day after the announcement that Turkey intends to make use of its special forces deeper in Syria

The accident happened near the town of al-Bab, which Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters are trying to take back from the Daesh.

Today’s accident prompted a response that is unlike the one Russia had in 2015, when the Turks shot down a Russian warplane.

Then the Russian side appeared angry and confrontational, but in reality the two countries are closer than their leaders would be willing to admit, and this was evident from the quick reconciliation, even after incidents that could have derailed diplomatic relationships indefinitely under different circumstances.

Even the assassination of the Russian ambassador didn’t put a dent in their relations.

This is not only due to their mutual dependence in matters of trade and energy, but more over the fact that they need each other in order to achieve their goals in Syria. Turkey needs a buffer zone in northern Syria against the Kurds, and they need Russian consent for that. Russia needs Turkey to let go of its opposition to Assad staying in power, which is caused by his regime’s tolerance towards the Kurdish militants, in order to allow the use its soil as a base of operations.

President Putin and President Erdogan had a telephone conversation regarding the accident, said the Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov on Thursday.

“President Putin discussed… his recent phone conversation with Turkish President Erdogan. Among other things, he said that he expressed condolences to his colleague over the incident that took place early Thursday morning, when Turkish servicemen were killed as a result of incoordination in Russian Air Force airstrikes against terrorists during the joint operation to liberate al-Bab,” Peskov said.

The Turkish Military said that they are conducting a joint investigation on the incident with the Russians.

Featured image courtesy of Reuters