The Turkish army blamed the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for an air strike on Thursday in northern Syria that killed three soldiers and wounded 10, it said in a statement.
“In the air strike assessed to have been by Syrian regime forces, three of our heroic soldiers were killed and 10 wounded,” said the statement on the Turkish military website. One of the wounded troops was said to be in critical condition.
The attack occurred at around 3:30 am in the course of a Turkish-led Syrian rebel operation in northern Syria, the army statement said. It added the wounded soldiers were evacuated rapidly from the area.
Turkish media reported earlier that the attack in the Al Bab region was carried out by ISIS jihadists.
Security and hospital sources in Turkey also said ISIS militants were behind the attack.
They said the wounded soldiers were transferred to hospitals in the Turkish border provinces of Kilis and Gaziantep.
It would be the first time Turkish soldiers are known to have been killed by Syrian regime forces in the offensive, dubbed Euphrates Shield, which was launched three months ago in northern Syria.
The Turkish military launched the offensive in August supporting Syrian opposition fighters seeking to retake territory from ISIS in northern Syria with tanks and aerial support.
Hundreds of Turkish soldiers are taking part in the operation, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week was pushing forward with its aim of taking Al Bab from ISIS.
“We reached Al Bab right now and besieged it from the west,” the president said in a speech on Tuesday.
The latest deaths raise to at least 15 the number of Turkish soldiers killed since Turkey began its operation in northern Syria.
Most were killed by ISIS but one soldier was killed in an attack blamed on the Kurdish People’s Protection Forces (YPG).