Some soldiers standing trial on coup charges sent to Syria for Operation Euphrates Shield

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Turkish soldiers fire an upgraded M60 tank during fighting alongside members of the Free Syrian Army against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists near the northern Syrian village of Beraan, north of the embattled city of Aleppo, on October 24, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Nazeer al-Khatib

Some of the soldiers who are standing trial on coup charges and allegations that they sought to occupy Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the night of July 15, when a group of military members attempted to overthrow the government, were sent to Syria to fight in Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, media reports said on Monday.

The first hearing in the trial of 62 members of the military was held at an İstanbul court on Monday. Twenty-eight high-ranking officers are being held in jail, while 34 privates are being tried without pretrial detention.

At the beginning of the hearing, presiding judge Ali Öztürk said notifications could not be sent to some of the soldiers about the court proceedings because they are out of the country due to the operation in Syria’s al-Bab region. Out of the 34 privates, only 15 of them attended Monday’s hearing.

As part of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from the border city of Jarabulus in late August, in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

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