The father of one of two Turkish soldiers who were allegedly burned to death by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists after being taken hostage in northern Syria in December 2016 has said he learned his son was forced to join ISIL to serve as an informant for Turkish intelligence, the Turkish edition of The Independent reported.
The father of Fethi Şahin, who along with another soldier, Sefter Taş, was allegedly burned to death by ISIL in the al-Bab region of Syria, broke his silence four years after the tragic incident, which became public knowledge with the release of a video by ISIL at the time showing soldiers in Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) uniforms being burned to death.
The 19-minute video, showing two men being hauled from a cage before being bound and torched, was posted online and was supposedly shot in the ISIL-declared “Aleppo Province” in northern Syria.
“He is said to have become an informant. It is said the state made him join ISIL as an undercover informant,” said Şahin’s father Mehmet, who declined to reveal the source of the information for fear of government retaliation.
Mehmet Şahin complained that he was given no information by Turkish authorities about his son following the release of the video and that the authorities even told him to inform them if he received any information about his son.
He said Taş’s family was informed in October 2017 that their son was “martyred” in Syria as Turkish soldiers are called martyrs when they are killed during their military service. However, Şahin said they received no such information from Turkish authorities and that their son was not given the status of martyr, which entitles the family of a slain soldier to some rights and benefits.
Turkish government officials were outraged following the release of the video and criticized people who spread it without verifying its authenticity. An access ban was immediately imposed on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The Turkish government has to date not made any statement as to the authenticity of the video.