Russia defense minister: 500 militants have escaped in Syria

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Russia’s defense minister says that about 500 suspected militants have fled captivity from northeastern Syria since the start of Turkey’s offensive in the area.

Sergei Shoigu said efforts are now being taken to apprehend the captives who fled.

Syrian Kurdish forces held thousands of ISIS fighters in detention centers in the area and there have been concerns the detainees could escape.

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Shoigu spoke to reporters on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia, after Russian and Turkish presidents made a deal to take shared control of the 440-kilometer (270-mile) Turkey-Syria border.

The agreement allows Turkish troops to control the area in northeastern Syria they have taken since Turkey launched its offensive on Oct. 9, while Russian military police and Syrian border guards will control the rest of the border.

Shoigu said the Russian military will need to bring in additional equipment to patrol the border to ensure Kurdish fighters withdraw from the 30-kilometer (19-mile)-wide area along the frontier.

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