Eight Turkish captives being well treated - rebels

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DAHUK, Iraq, Oct 24 (Reuters) Eight Turkish soldiers captured by Kurdish separatists in a battle at the weekend are in good health, but no decision has been made on whether to release them, a rebel spokesman said today.

Abdul Rahman Jaderji, spokesman for the PKK rebels, told Reuters by telephone that one of the soldiers had been slightly wounded during the fighting and had received treatment, but all were well.

''Like any human being, they deserve respect,'' he said.

Asked when the prisoners would be released, he said: ''We just arrested them, and we will see.

They were fighting against us. Maybe their families will ask us to release them and then we'll think about it.'' He added: ''It's not the first time we've had prisoners and we've always released them in the past.'' The eight soldiers were captured in a cross-border raid by the Kurdish rebels on Sunday. A dozen Turkish soldiers were killed in the raid, which heightened tensions between Ankara and Baghdad.

Turkey says it will launch a major incursion into northern Iraq unless Baghdad cracks down on the guerrillas.

A news agency and television station with links to the Kurdish separatists yesterday released photographs and video footage to show the eight captives.

Jaderji said some of the captured troops were of Kurdish origin.

''They are our people's sons,'' he said.

REUTERS AE RK2120

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