ISIS video shows two captured Turkish soldiers burned alive

BEIRUT • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group has released a video purportedly showing two captured Turkish soldiers being burned alive, after Ankara vowed to fight "terror" in Syria in response to 16 of its troops being killed in battle.

The 19-minute video, showing two uniformed men being hauled from a cage before being bound and torched, was posted on extremist websites and was supposedly shot in the ISIS-declared "Aleppo Province" in northern Syria.

Speaking in Turkish, the killer of the two men criticises Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and calls for "destruction to be sowed" in Turkey.

The shocking images recall the killing of Jordanian fighter pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was captured by ISIS when his plane went down in Syria in two years ago. He was later burned alive in a cage.

Turks reacted angrily yesterday on social media to the video, with one saying "it's a nightmare".

The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq said last month that the extremists had kidnapped two Turkish soldiers, and the Turkish army separately said it had lost contact with two of its men.

The video's release comes a day after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed by ISIS in Ankara's biggest loss so far in its incursion into Syria. They were killed in a series of attacks around the Syrian town of Al-Bab on Wednesday that included three suicide car bombings.

Turkish troops entered Syria on Aug 24 in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, with the aim of ousting both ISIS extremists and Kurdish militia from the border region.

At least 38 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the operation, which the Turkish government has dubbed Euphrates Shield.

Defence Minister Fikri Isik told Parliament on Thursday that 1,005 ISIS terrorists and 299 fighters affiliated with the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units had been killed in the operation so far.

Meanwhile, Turkish air strikes on Al-Bab killed at least 47 civilians, including 14 children and nine women, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'ISIS video shows two captured Turkish soldiers burned alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe