US-led anti-ISIL coalition helps Turkey find missing soldiers
REUTERS photoThe U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is helping Turkey find two of its soldiers that went missing in Syria, a British general stated on Nov. 30.
“Turkey is an important ally to us as a NATO partner and as a member of the coalition, and therefore we are supporting Turkey in trying to recover their two individuals,” said British Army Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, a deputy commander in the U.S.-led coalition, according to AFP.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters in a video call, Jones declined to provide further details, citing the sensitive nature of the search.
The two Turkish troops went missing on Nov. 29 as the Turkish military pressed the Euphrates Shield Operation to expel ISIL jihadists from the border area.
The ISIL-linked Amaq news agency claimed the jihadist group had taken the pair hostage in the al-Dana region close to the al-Bab region, where the Ankara-backed Syrian rebels are fighting ISIL.
One of the two Turkish soldiers was wounded after ISIL militants aimed at the vehicle carrying them near al-Dana, along with their Turkmen translator, Al Jazeera reported, citing local sources. However, no information on the health situation of the injured soldier was given.
The report added that the soldiers and the translator are believed to have been taken to Raqqa, the ISIL stronghold in Syria.
Although Turkey is part of the anti-ISIL coalition, fellow coalition members are not assisting it in the al-Bab region.
The Turkish army embarked on an ambitious operation inside Syria in August to root out ISIL and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) from the border area.