Naharnet

Report: Talks Ongoing to Free 49 Turkish Officers Held in Syria

Syria and Turkey are negotiating the conditions for the release of 49 detained Turkish intelligence officers, a radio station close to the government in Damascus said on Tuesday.

Sham FM said the officers had been detained while operating undercover, although there has been no word from Ankara on any such arrests.

The radio said Syria had laid down three conditions for any release: an exchange of the Turkish officers for rebel Free Syrian Army members in Turkish territory, for Turkey to halt infiltrations by the FSA, and for Turkey to stop training its members.

The radio said Damascus wanted its ally Tehran to be the witness of any accord with Ankara.

Turkey, which once had close ties with its neighbor Syria, has called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and condemned his crackdown on dissent that opposition activists say has cost at least 6,000 lives since March.

Leadership of the FSA, made up mostly of Syrian army deserters, has been based in Turkey across the border from northwestern Syria.

Source: Agence France Presse


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