Shoigu: up to 500 people have fled captivity in northern Syria

Shoigu: up to 500 people have fled captivity in northern Syria

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Moscow estimated that up to 500 people, including terrorists, had escaped from captivity in northern Syria after their guards left their posts.

He noted that in the 48 hours, guards have been dismissed, and the remaining 500 people left the area, TASS reported.

Shoigu said measures were being taken "by those who control these territories" to recapture them.

During the talks held yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed Operation Peace Spring, launched by Turkey on October 9. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world.

On October 17, the United States, represented by Vice President Mike Pence, reached a deal with Erdogan to pause Operation Peace Spring. Turkey consented to a 120-hour ceasefire so that Kurdish units making up the coalition of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could leave the areas of the border security zone that Ankara is attempting to create.