MADRID, Nov. 1 (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Government of Turkey has handed over 18 Syrian Army soldiers to Russia who were captured at the end of October by Turkish troops in their operations in northeastern Syria, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik.
The Turkish Defense Minister, General Hulusi Akar, explained on Thursday that negotiations have been conducted with the Russian military authorities for the delivery of these 18 soldiers from the regime presided by Bashar al Assad.
“18 people from the (Syrian) regime, arrested on October 29 during the search, recognition and security operations southeast of the city of Ras al Ayn, were handed over (to Russia) as a result of coordination with the Russian authorities” , reported the Turkish Ministry of Defense in a statement.
Turkey launched the Peace Spring operation on October 9 to expel Syrian Democratic Forces militiamen from the northeast of Syria, led by Syrian Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units.
A week later, Turkey agreed with the United States a temporary suspension of the military offensive in exchange for the SDS militiamen to withdraw beyond the delimited region to establish the 'safe zone' in which Turkey intends to relocate hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees currently in their territory.
On October 22, Turkey agreed with Russia an extension of the ceasefire and the deployment of Syrian military backed by Russian police in northeastern Syria whenever the withdrawal of the SDF militiamen is completed.
The agreement contemplates that the forces of Syria and Russia will facilitate the departure of the SDS militiamen to be located 30 kilometers from the border with Turkey, with the deadline of October 29. After this deadline, the military in Russia and Turkey will begin joint patrols ten kilometers from the border of Syria with Turkey.