Syrian regime soldiers captured by Turkey could be released
Eighteen soldiers were captured after heavy clashes on Tuesday between Syrian regime forces and Turkish-backed fighters near the city of Ras al-Ain, which was recently evacuated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Six regime soldiers were killed in the clashes, one of them reportedly summarily executed by fighters from the Turkish-backed Sultan Murad division.
The fighting took place despite an agreement between Turkey and Russia regarding the evacuation of SDF troops from a 30-kilometre zone along the border between Turkey and Syria, between the towns of Ras Al-Ain and Tal Abyad.
After Turkey launched its "Operation Peace Spring" offensive against the Kurdish-led SDF earlier this month, the SDF invited Assad regime and Russian troops to enter areas they control in northern Syria, such as the cities of Kobane, Manbij, and Qamishli.
The Turkish defence ministry said on Tuesday that "18 people who claimed to be regime soldiers were captured during an operation to comb, scout, and secure the area southeast of Ras al-Ain".
RT said that "informed sources" told it that the "problem" of the 18 soldiers would be "solved" today. It did not give further details.
Pro-Turkish Twitter users uploaded video showing the initial moments of the regime soldiers' capture.
One video showed them being forced to lie on the ground while Turkish-backed fighters shouted at them.
The Syria warbroke out in 2011 following the brutal suppression of peaceful pro-democracy protests by the Assad regime.
More than 500,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.