2 Turkish soldiers missing in Syria, ISIL claims abduction
ISTANBULConnection with two soldiers deployed in Syria as part of the ongoing Euphrates Shield Operation has been lost, the Turkish Armed Forces announced late on Nov. 29, while the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which Turkish forces are combatting in northern Syria, claimed responsibility for the abduction of the two soldiers.
The military stated that contact with the soldiers was lost at around 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 29.
It also added that search works to find the missing soldiers were ongoing.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was informed of the situation by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, private broadcaster CNN Türk reported.
ISIL’s Amaq News Agency said its fighters had captured two Turkish soldiers near the al-Dana village northwest of al-Bab in northern Syria.
Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels are fighting ISIL near al-Bab with the aim to liberate the city from jihadists.
The army statement made no mention of where the soldiers went missing or of a possible kidnapping. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, also reported the incident as taking place in al-Dana but made no mention of ISIL.
On Aug. 24, the Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation in Syria, the Euphrates Shield operation, with FSA fighters to clear the country’s southern border of both ISIL and Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces, which Ankara considers as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Meanwhile, five Turkish soldiers were wounded in clashes against ISIL near al-Bab as part of the Euphrates Shield Operation on Nov. 30, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The soldiers were hospitalized in the southeatern provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis after being brought to the cities by choppers.