Three soldiers are in hands of ISIL: Turkish Defense Minister
Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Işık on Dec. 23 said he had information that three Turkish soldiers were abducted by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in northern Syria but added that other “comments” beyond this information were not confirmed.
“Up until now, we have information that three of our soldiers are abducted by Daesh,” said Işık during a meeting in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
He added that Turkish forces along with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters “cleared” the key location of al-Bab, Hospital Height, from ISIL militants but there were “more work to carry out.”
Turkey for four months has been carrying out the military operation, Euphrates Shield, in support of FSA fighters in northern Syria, to secure its border from ISIL.
Turkey aimed to free its border of terrorist organizations, which not only include ISIL but also the PYD and YPG. Turkey considers both of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party Union (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), as terror organizations, due to their ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The U.S., on the other hand, regards the PYD and YPG as “reliable” partners in the fight against ISIL in Syria, even though it also designates the PKK as a terrorist organization.