Local interpreter - U.S.-linked troops behind kidnapping, murder of Turkish soldiers in al-Bab

Turkish Islamist newspaper Yeni Şafak has interviewed a local interpreter who said that Free Syrian Army (FSA) troops under the control of the United States were responsible for the abduction and killing of two Turkish soldiers in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab.

The front-page headline of the newspaper, known to be close to elements of the government, said Wednesday: “The Pentagon kidnapped two soldiers”.

Yeni Şafak 08 Nov
Yeni Şafak front page, Nov. 8.

According to Muhammed H., a Syrian guide from a Turkmen village who escaped wounded from the alleged kidnapping attempt, Turkish soldiers often travelled near al-Bab with a military escort provided by one of three U.S. military-linked FSA brigades in the region.

The first sign of trouble came when the escort due to take him and the two soldiers back from a meeting with an Arab opposition figure did not arrive.

On the way back, he said, disaster struck:

We went a little way and came to the fields near al-Dana village. When we came to an area with only a rural cottage, a motorcycle with two people on it came up behind us, and began shooting the moment it passed us. At that moment, two more people came out from the olive trees ahead and began firing at us. The attackers were wearing FSA uniforms. Commander Kıvanç said “they didn’t recognise us, they are FSA” and got out of the vehicle. Then I saw that commander Muhammed had been shot.

The guns were in the back seat of the vehicle. Only one of the automatic machine-guns was beside commander Kıvanç. But we didn’t have time to get our guns because of the continuous fire.

The men went on to run into the olive trees, where the interpreter escaped but the two soldiers were captured.

Muhammed H. said U.S.-linked troops were only 200 metres away, but did nothing to intervene in the incident.

Once he arrived at the troops’ checkpoint, he said, he heard an order over the intercom not to leave him alive. He also said that the motorcycle that had carried out the attack had come from the same checkpoint.

While media reports said both Turkish soldiers had been killed by Islamic State, Yeni Şafak said “the finger of a brigade connected to the U.S.-Pentagon” was involved.

On the same day pro government Yeni Şafak was accusing US administration for abduction of 2 Turkish soldiers in Al Bab on the front page, Turkish Prime Minister arrived in Washington in attempt to repair badly damaged relations with the US administration.