Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Erdogan discussed the situation in Syria during a major phone call on Wednesday, according to an official statement.
It read: “There was an extensive exchange of opinions concerning the Syrian question, including the situation in Aleppo.
“A number of urgent issues regarding Russia-Turkey relations have been raised, including upcoming bilateral contacts on various levels.”
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the Kremlin wanted Turkey to explain themselves after the shock statement.
He said: “The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation.
“We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners”.
He said Moscow would wait for the statement to be clarified before considering whether this incident would change the nature of relations between the two countries, but did state that Russia was the only country with a legitimate military presence in Syria – because their forces are deployed following a direct request from the Syrian leader.
On Tuesday, Erdogan said the country’s military operations in Syria were aimed at toppling Basdhar al-Assad, who has been embroiled in a bitter civil war for years.
He said: “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorises with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason”.
He also claimed he wanted to restore “justice” by handing over power to the Syrian people.
Turkey’s ‘Euphrates Shield’ operation has been underway in Syria since August, when Erdogan’s troops liberated the Syrian border town of Jarabulus, before moving against other Islamists.
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