Islamic State releases Turkish hostages seized in Mosul
Ankara (AsiaNews) - Dozens of Turkish hostages seized by Islamic State (formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL)) in the north Iraqi city of Mosul in June are now back in Turkey, PM Ahmet Davutoglu said.
The 46 hostages included diplomats and their families as well as soldiers. Earlier reports said 49 Turkish hostages had been freed but it later emerged that three of those being held in Mosul were Iraqis. Their fate is not yet clear.
All of them were seized from Turkey's consulate after Islamic State militants occupied Mosul in June. Davutoglu did not give details on the circumstances of their release.
In June, as it tried to gain control of the area, the Islamic State also seized more than 30 Turkish lorry drivers, who were freed a month later but details of their release were not made public.
Islamists had also threatened to attack the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, which Turkey controls as a sovereign exclave located in the province of Aleppo, 25 kilometres from the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkey is suspected of helping the Islamic State in its fight against the Syrian government, allowing the use of Turkish border camps as training grounds for Islamic militias.
In recent weeks, the United States and other countries have come together in a coalition to counter the Islamic State's takeover of large sections of Syria and Iraq.
Turkey agreed to participate but only by providing humanitarian aid. By contrast, the United States and France attacked positions held by Islamic caliphate fighters.
On Friday, Turkey opened a stretch of its south-eastern border to thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing an Islamic State advance (pictured).
Turkish troops had earlier blocked them from crossing, triggering angry protests from Turkish Kurds in the border village of Dikemetas.
Since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011, more than 847,000 Syrian refugees crossed into Turkey.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council yesterday called on the international community to support the efforts of the new Iraqi government to "maintain security and combat terrorism and to create a safe, stable and prosperous future for the people of Iraq."
The 15-member body adopted a statement backing Iraq at a meeting chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry and attended by some 35 countries, including an Iranian representative, in a show of solidarity for Baghdad's anti-jihadist stance.
For Kerry "There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran".