The Turkish military released 18 Syrian government soldiers captured in northeastern Syria by its forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday, Arabnews.com reported.
Turkey releases 18 Syrian soldiers
STEPANAKERT, NOVEMBER 1, ARTSAKHPRESS: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said earlier that the soldiers were captured during Turkish reconnaissance operations southeast of Ras Al-Ayn but didn’t say when.
Turkey agreed to a cease-fire brokered by Russia in which Kurdish fighters would withdraw 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from the Turkish border. As part of the deal, Syrian government forces would take positions along the frontier.
Akar spoke during a visit to Turkish troops at the border with Syria. His comments were carried on the official ministry website.
A Syrian Kurdish official said the soldiers were captured Tuesday during an intense battle between Syrian government forces and Turkey-backed fighters. Kurdish fighters were fighting alongside the Syrian troops. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.
In another sign of the changing battleground, US forces said the first batch of mechanized armored vehicles arrived in southeast Syria on Thursday, where they are to take part in securing oil fields and fighting remnants of Daesh. US-led Coalition spokesman Col. Myles Caggins said the first batch of Bradley armored infantry carriers arrived in Deir Ezzor Province and will provide infantry with maneuverability and firepower.
He said the deployment is “de-conflicted” with other forces operating in the region.
The province is home to some of Syria’s largest oil fields. It is also where Daesh militants continue to wage an insurgency and where they lost their last territory in March.
US President Donald Trump ordered the troop withdrawal from the north ahead of a Turkish military offensive there earlier this month. He said he wanted out of America’s “endless wars” but would leave US troops in the region to secure oil facilities.