Two Turkish soldiers who went missing in action during the Turkish Armed Forces’ Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria in November 2016 have been confirmed to have been killed, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 10.
The military announced late on Nov. 29, 2016, that contact with two soldiers deployed in Syria as part of the operation had been lost.
On Jan. 10, two non-commissioned officers identified as Muhammet Duran Keskin and Kıvanç Kaşıkçı were announced to have been killed near al-Bab.
The army had initially made no mention of where the soldiers went missing or of a possible kidnapping.
However, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) Amaq News Agency had said its fighters captured the two soldiers near the al-Dana village northwest of al-Bab in northern Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, also reported the incident as taking place in al-Dana but made no mention of the jihadist group.
The news of the two soldiers’ deaths was conveyed to their relatives in the southern province of Adana and the western province of Çanakkale, respectively.
The bodies of the soldiers will be transferred to their hometowns following a ceremony in the border province of Gaziantep.
On Aug. 24, 2016, the Turkish Armed Forces launched the Euphrates Shield operation with Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters to clear the country’s southern border of both ISIL and Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces, which Ankara considers as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).