Turkey hands over 18 Assad militiamen to Russia (video)

Orient Net 2019-11-01 08:40:00

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Turkey has handed over 18 Assad militiamen who were seized in northeast Syria near the Turkish border earlier this week, the Turkish Defense Ministry said late on Thursday (October 31).

The ministry did not say who they were handed over to, but said it came about “as a result of the coordination with the authorities of the Russian Federation”.

A video published on social media showed the Assad militiamen while they were delivered to Russian Military Police.

The move comes ahead of the scheduled start on Friday of joint Turkish-Russian military patrols in northeast Syria near the border.

The 18 militiamen were seized during operations southeast of Syria’s Ras al Ain town on Oct. 29, the defense ministry said on Twitter.

Ras al Ain is within the region targeted by Turkey in the offensive it launched on Oct. 9, together with Syrian opposition fighters, with the aim of forcing the Kurdish YPG militia away from the border.

Ankara and Moscow agreed last week to remove YPG fighters to a depth of 30 km (19 miles) south of the border inside Syria. Russia told Turkey that the YPG had left the strip within the 150-hour deadline.