Turkish troops have captured 18 “alleged” soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), while they were conducting operations in the northeastern part of the war-torn country, the Turkish Ministry of National Defence announced on October 29.
“18 people who were claimed to be the Regime elements were captured alive in the southeast of Ras al-Ayn during the search/detection/reconnaissance/security activities,” a press release by the ministry reads.
The ministry added that the issue is being “examined and coordinated” with the authorities of the Russian Federation.
Syrian pro-government activists confirmed that the captives are indeed service members of the SAA, questioning the doubts casted by the Turkish side.
The Syrian soldiers were captured in the morning of October 29, when Syrian militants backed by Turkish battle tanks attacked their position near Ras al-Ayn. Videos released by Turkish-backed militants themselves show that they executed a 19th soldier after capturing him alive.
Earlier this month, Russia and Turkey reached an agreement facilitating the deployment of Syrian troops and Russian forces along Turkey’s border with northeast Syria in exchange for the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters.
The Turkish-backed militants attack was a major violation of the agreement. These militants, that belong to the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA), have been accused of numerus war crimes since the beginning of Operation Peace Spring in northeast Syria.