World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish officials are holding talks with ISIL militants via mediator for the release of Turkish conculate staff and drivers who are kidnapped in Mosul.
According to Turkish media, third negotiation is taking place on Syrian-Turkish border currently.
Abdurrahman al-Baasi, a Mosul-based leader of the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, said that Turkish hostages were in a good condition and held at a safe place, Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported.
'We are ready to keep in touch with Turkish officials. They are in a secure place,' said al-Baasi, speaking to Yenisafak.
The paper also claimed 49 Turkish citizens were taken to residence of Mosul Governor Useyil Nuceyfi following their release and are expected to return back to Turkey later on Thursday.
"There are reports in the media about our citizens being released but we can't confirm these reports at this stage," a Turkish official said. "We have been holding negotiations since yesterday to secure our citizens and these negotiations are still ongoing."
Cetin Nuhoglu, chairman of Turkey's International Transport Association, told Reuters that 31 of the hostages - a group of truck drivers being held at a power station - had been freed but were apparently trapped at the site because of poor security in Mosul following its capture by the militants.
According to Turkish media, the medical condition of drivers are good.
Earlier on Thursday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on said the Turkish government was not working on any new mandate to authorise a cross-border military operation into Iraq following the seizure of the 80 Turks by the jihadi fighters.
A parliamentary mandate allowing Turkey to conduct cross-border military operations in Iraq expires in October. It was drafted to enable Ankara to strike at bases of Kurdish PKK militants sheltering in the north of Iraq.
ISIL raided on the Turkish Consulate in the northern Iraqi province of Mosul on Wednesday. Turkish Consul General Ozturk Yilmaz and diplomats were taken hostage by a group of militants after more than 900 ISIL fighters stormed the Turkish Consulate.
TURKISH JETS FLY OVER MOSUL
Turkish media reported that during the initial negotiations, ISIL did not demand ransom money and there were different opinions on the release of Turkish hostages among the factions in the militant group.
During an emergency summit meeting by the Turkish officials including the President, PM and commander of arms forces, it was decided that using Turkish military forces was not an option at the moment.
Meanwhile, since yesterday Turkish fighter jets and drones, in coordination with Bagdat, have been put into effect and flying over Musul to observe events on the ground. Some Turkish officials said that the flights aim to detect latest developments and plan possible operations.
According to a news report by Al Jazeera Turk, the fighter jets took off from the 2nd Air Power command in Diyarbakir and were put into mission on Wednesday. They were operating above and around the borders of Musul.
The report also stated that along with the observation flights, drones from the military base in Batman were also deployed. Images and information gathered from the scene were sent to Turkey and Iraq.Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2014, 15:13