Kurdish militia to hand over bodies after Syria clashes

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BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian Kurdish militia said Tuesday it will hand over the bodies of nine enemy fighters to Turkey following clashes with Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces.

Barousek Hasakeh, an officer in the U.S.-backed force known as the YPG, says the nine were killed in clashes Monday in Ein Daqna, a small village on the front line between the rival forces, both of which are also battling the Islamic State group.

Hasakeh did not identify the nationalities of the fallen fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the handover was arranged by Russia. The Russian military maintains a handful of posts in Kurdish territory in northern Syria.

Hasakeh said clashes with the Syrian opposition forces died down Tuesday, but shelling continued throughout the day.

Also Tuesday, Syria blasted the European Union for imposing new sanctions on 16 Syrian military and scientific officials it suspects are involved in chemical weapons attacks against civilians.

Syria's state news agency quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry official as saying that the sanctions are "unjustified" and aim to mislead international public opinion. It said Damascus has had no chemical weapons since it joined the international chemical weapons convention four years ago.

In May, the EU extended restrictive measures against Syria by a year. The 28-nation EU had previously imposed travel bans and frozen the assets of 240 people and 67 organizations in Syria.

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