Russia’s envoy to Turkey Andrei Karlov was gunned down in capital Ankara, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said during a televised statement.
According to Russian news agency Sputnik, the attacker was a police officer who reportedly shouted ‘Aleppo’ and ‘revenge’ before taking the diplomat out. According to an Associated Press photographer who was in audience, the assailant fired at least eight bullets.
— David J. Coulson (@David_Coulson_j) December 19, 2016
The attack reportedly took place at an art exhibition where Ambassador Andrei Karlov was also present. He was reportedly shot in the back while he was delivering a speech, following which he was rushed to the hospital.
Reports of shooting near US Embassy Ankara, #Turkey– US citizens advised to avoid Embassy area until further notice.
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 19, 2016
According to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, a brief gunfight ensued between security forces and the attacker after the assault on the envoy, that ended in the gunman being killed. Three people were also injured during the gunfight, according to local media reports.
The attacker reportedly escorted the other people out of the venue after shooting the diplomat.
According to reports, Moscow has declared the attack as an act of terrorism.
The attack comes just days after Syrian armed forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad fought their way into the rebel-held eastern side of Aleppo, after blockading the territory on and off since July this year. The Russian forces played a key role in propping up the Bashar al-Assad regime by bombing rebel targets amd helping the Syrian force break the months-old deadlock.
The retaking of rebel-held parts of Aleppo by Syrian forces has reportedly caused enormous collateral damage in form of summary executions by government forces and civilians finding themselves in the line of fire.
The ancient city has borne the brunt of violence in the ongoing Syrian civil war, with more than 310,000 reportedly dead until now.
Russia and Turkey have a rocky recent history. In Nov 2015, a Turkish fighter plane shot down a Russian military aircraft which Turkish authorities say violated their airspace.