The Prime Minister has come under fire as a US-led airstrike involving Australian jets has killed up to 83 people in Syria who were not IS but Syrian soldiers fighting Islamic State forces.
The soldiers were fighting Islamic State militants around a military airport in the country’s east when they were attacked by US-led coalition aircraft which apparently mistook them for militants.
The Prime Minister confirmed Australian aircraft were involved in the coalition exercise and pulled out when Russian officials advised the targets may have been Syrian military personnel and not the IS.
The raid escalated tensions between Russia and the US as the Syrian ceasefire faltered, with a fresh barrage of air strikes by aircraft on rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo.
“As soon as the coalition were advised that there were Syrian government personnel that had been affected by the strike, the operation was discontinued,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in New York, echoing the earlier Defence statement.
“We regret the loss of life and injury to any Syrian personnel affected.”
Mr Turnbull said the situation in Syria remained complex, and any review of the mission would look into whether there should have been better coordination, reports ABC News.
“[For example] who was meant to be advising whom, but I’m not going to get into the element of speculation,” he said.
The Prime Minister also offered his condolences to the victims.