Monday, July 30, 2012

'Idyllic' Turkish region, is Jihadists' favorite crossing into Syria

"... "The Turkish police are watching the border, but with their eyes closed," said Ahmed al-Debisi, a Syrian pharmacist and opposition member based in Antakya, who is trying to clandestinely make gas masks out of Coke cans ....
It seems the Antakya area is becoming a magnet for foreign jihadis, who are flocking into Turkey to fight a holy war in Syria. One Turkish truck driver said he passed through the Bab al-Hawa border post on Wednesday night and spotted four foreign fighters with guns and rough Arabic accents, leading him to believe they were Pakistani, Afghan or possibly Chechen.
Another border zone, just inside Syria, was seized by Kurdish militias, leaving the Turks deeply concerned that the rapid unraveling of the Assad government could reinvigorate Kurdish militants in Turkey......
Every night, the border is bustling along illegal crossing points. Medicine and supplies flow into Syria, and bloodied fighters trudge out.
But Antakya used to be a hot weekend destination for Syrians coming across to shop. One tourist operator said he used to get 2,000 customers per day, but now it is down to zero. The operator, who did not want to be identified because he was embarrassed about going bankrupt, said he had just laid off the last of his three secretaries.
"This conflict did not affect us," he said. "It finished us."..."

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