Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov assassinated in Ankara

<p>The body of Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov has been delivered to Vnukovo International Airport by a charter flight. Karlov was shot dead on Dec. 19, 2016 in Ankara’s Contemporary Art Center. (Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images) </p>

The Russian ambassador to Ankara was shot dead in an attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital on Monday by a gunman shouting “Don’t forget Aleppo”.

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed the death of envoy Andrey Karlov, which marked one of the most serious spillovers of the Syria conflict into Turkey.

Russia is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its air strikes were instrumental in helping Syrian forces end rebel resistance last week in the northern city of Aleppo.

<p>Flag-wrapped coffin of late Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov is carried to a plane during a ceremony at Esenboga airport in Ankara, Turkey on Dec. 20, 2016. (Umit Bektas/Reuters) </p>

The Anadolu news agency said the gunman had been “neutralized” soon after the attack, Relations between Moscow and Ankara have long been fraught over the conflict, with the two supporting opposing sides.

The attacker was smartly dressed in black suit and tie, and standing behind the ambassador as he made a speech at the art exhibition, a person at the scene told Reuters.

“He took out his gun and shot the ambassador from behind. We saw him lying on the floor and then we ran out,” said the witness, who asked not to be identified.

A Reuters cameraman at the scene said gunfire rang out for some time after the attack.

A video showed the attacker shouting: “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”

As screams rang out, the gunman could then be seen pacing about and shouting as he held the gun in one hand and waved the other in the air. (Reuters)

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