Turkey Says 41 Suspected ISIS Members Recaptured in Syria

Saturday, 19 October, 2019 - 11:30
Beirut- Asharq Al-Awsat

Turkey’s interior minister says 41 suspected ISIS members were recaptured after fleeing a detention camp earlier this week in Syria, amid heavy fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

Suleyman Soylu said that 195 other suspected ISIS members had already been re-taken, Turkish television reported on Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Syrian Kurdish forces of releasing some 750 ISIS members and families, amid Turkey’s offensive.

Private IHA news agency said the Turkish nationals among the re-captured were brought over to Turkey in vans, where Erdogan said they would be imprisoned and tried.

Turkey’s state-run English language broadcaster TRT World said the ISIS members and families were captured by Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces. The foreign nationals, many of them Europeans, would be transferred to a Turkey-controlled zone in northern Aleppo, according to the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, a war monitor group said Turkey-backed Syrian fighters have clashed in several locations with Kurdish forces, in possible violations of a US-brokered cease-fire in northern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday that the Turkish proxy forces crossed into Syria east of Ras al-Ain to a village where clashes have been ongoing since Friday.

Washington brokered a five-day cease-fire late Thursday meant to slow down a Turkish offensive on the Kurdish-held region across the border.

Ankara wants the Kurdish forces to vacate a large zone along its borders.

On Saturday, Syrian state media said Syrian government forces — newly deployed south of Ras al-Ain to boost Syrian Kurdish attempts to fend off the invasion — have clashed with the Turkish-backed forces.

The Syrian Democratic Forces called Saturday on US Vice President Mike Pence, who negotiated the deal with Erdogan, to take responsibility for enforcing the ceasefire.

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