IS burns two Turkish soldiers alive in shocking video
The Islamic State group [IS] released a shocking video on Thursday showing two captive Turkish soldiers being burned alive in the Syrian province of Aleppo.
The video titled "The Cross Shield" features IS fighters leading the two servicemen on all fours, as they are called "dogs" before they are burned alive.
The Turkish soldiers address the camera before the execution and urge the Turkish government to stop "waging war against Muslims".
The extremist group explains that the brutal executions were in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "burning Muslims" in air raids on IS-held territory in northern Syria.
The shocking images recall the killing of Moaz al-Kassasbeh, a Jordanian fighter pilot, who was captured by the extremists when his plane went down in Syria in December 2014, and was later burned alive in a cage.
The IS-linked news agency Amaq said last month that the extremists had kidnapped two Turkish soldiers, and the Turkish army separately said it had lost contact with two of its men.
The video's release comes a day after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed by IS fighters in Ankara's biggest loss so far in its unprecedented incursion into Syria.
They were killed in a succession of attacks around the Syrian town of al-Bab on Wednesday that included three suicide car bombings.
The heavy toll showed the intensifying battle for the town, which Turkish forces have been seeking to capture for weeks in the biggest test of their four-month incursion into Syria.
Turkish troops entered Syria on August 24 in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, with the aim of ousting IS as well as Kurdish militias from the border area.
At least 38 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the operation, which the Turkish government has dubbed Euphrates Shield.
Speaking earlier on Thursday, Erdogan vowed no let-up in the ongoing campaign.
"Yes, maybe we will have to lay martyrs to rest," he said in a speech in Ankara.