23:53 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Number of Turkish Soldiers Captured by Daesh Could Be 'Higher' Than Reports Say

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    Publishing Editor of the Turkish newspaper BirGün Ibrahim Varli told Sputnik Turkey that the number of Turkish soldiers captured by Daesh fighters could be much higher than it was reported by official sources.

    Last week, reports said that two Turkish soldiers, along with their local interpreter, were captured by terrorists near the Ed Dana village in the vicinity of al-Bab. The soldiers were reported injured and said to be receiving medical treatment in the city of Raqqa in one of the special underground shelters built for Daesh leadership, while their interpreter died due to injuries sustained during the capture.

    Although there are no official reports about other Turkish servicemen abducted by Daesh, Varli believes that the actual number of captured soldiers is much higher.

    "This issue is unclear. No official information is available. It has been reported that three servicemen of the Turkish Armed Forces are currently being held prisoners by jihadists. However, local sources say that the number is much higher, about 35-40 soldiers. We have not seen it by ourselves, and so we can't publish this information, because otherwise we could be accused of disseminating misinformation among the population. However, local correspondents claim that the number of the Turkish soldiers held hostage is much higher," the journalist said.

    The journalist also commented on the recent call of Daesh to carry out attacks on Turkey. The main targets of terrorist attacks could be Turkish official bodies, as well as embassies and consulates of Turkey in foreign countries, Daesh announced.

    "The threat posed by Daesh to Turkey has been there all this time, but now it has become even more evident, especially amid the fact that jihadists have recently been defeated in Iraq and Syria," the journalist stated. "They are being backed in a corner and therefore are as dangerous as ever," he added.

    Earlier, Russia and China were criticized for vetoing a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Syrian city of Aleppo, however Varli believes that it was the right decision.

    "[Daesh] militants are being pushed back in Aleppo, the Syrian government army took control of two-thirds of the city. In these circumstances, the ceasefire would have provided jihadists with the opportunity to regroup and recover. So I think it was the right decision to block the resolution for a ceasefire in Aleppo," Varli said.

    The Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, started the Euphrates Shield military operation in August, with the aim of freeing the Syrian northern territories from terrorists and creating security zones for the accommodation of refugees. In the course of the operation, several Turkish soldiers were reported dead, and some of them are assumed to be missing.

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    Tags:
    capture, soldiers, Daesh, Middle East, Turkey
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