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Missing Turkish soldier treated in IS-controlled Syria: report

ISIS

A Turkish soldier who went missing following cross-border fire from Syria has been treated at a Syrian hospital in an area controlled by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a report said today.

One Turkish soldier died of his wounds and another was wounded following the incident in the border region of Kilis on Tuesday when shots were fired from an IS-held area in northern Syria.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said in a statement on its website that contact had been lost with a third soldier following the clashes.

Citing intelligence reports, security sources told Hurriyet newspaper that the soldier, identified as Sefer T, had been wounded in his right foot and taken to a hospital in an IS-held area near the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Turkish spy agency, the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), was working to secure his release, sources said, while ruling out any negotiations with the group.

Sources also said that there were reports that the jihadists had planned to transfer the soldier to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under IS control.

The report raises the prospect of another delicate abduction situation for Turkey. In June 2014, IS jihadists kidnapped 49 staff of Turkey’s consulate in Mosul after seizing control of the city.

They were all released unharmed in September 2014 after top-secret negotiations led by MIT that reportedly resulted in the release of jihadist prisoners in Turkey in exchange for the embassy staff.

Meanwhile, eighteen Turkish construction workers were kidnapped this week by unknown individuals in a Shiite-dominated neighbourhood of Baghdad.

However the Turkish foreign ministry has said it does not believe IS is behind the abduction of the workers. Who is holding them and where remains a mystery.

Turkish warplanes for the first time joined raids by the US-led coalition against IS in Syria last weekend after Washington urged Ankara to play a full role in the battle against the jihadists.

Analysts have warned that Turkey taking a greater role in the fight against IS increases the risk of reprisal attacks by the group.