Thursday, October 10, 2013

Turkey continues its support of al Qaeda in Syria: "The threat posed by Jabhat al Nusra could be dealt with later"

"...Syrian opposition leaders, American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats who worked with Mr. Fidan say the MIT acted like a "traffic cop" that arranged weapons drops and let convoys through checkpoints along Turkey's 565-mile border with Syria.Some moderate Syrian opposition leaders say they immediately saw that arms shipments bypassed them and went to groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr. Erdogan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party has supported Muslim Brotherhood movements across the region.
Syrian Kurdish leaders, meanwhile, charge that Ankara allowed arms and support to reach radical groups that could check the expanding power of Kurdish militia aligned with Turkey's militant Kurdistan Workers' Party.
Turkish border guards repeatedly let groups of radical fighters cross into Syria to fight Kurdish brigades, says Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union of Syria, Turkey's most powerful Kurdish party. He says Turkish ambulances near the border picked up wounded fighters from Jabhat al Nusra, an anti-Assad group linked to al Qaeda. Turkish officials deny those claims.
Opposition lawmakers from the border province of Hatay say Turkish authorities transported Islamist fighters to frontier villages and let fighter-filled planes land at Hatay airport. Turkish officials deny both allegations.
Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, a lawmaker for Hatay's largest city, Antakya, and a member of the parliament's foreign-relations committee, says he followed a convoy of more than 50 buses carrying radical fighters and accompanied by 10 police vehicles to the border village of Guvecci. "This was just one incident of many," he says. Voters in his district strongly oppose Turkish support for the Syrian opposition. Turkish officials deny Mr. Ediboglu's account.
In meetings with American officials and Syrian opposition leaders, Turkish officials said the threat posed by Jabhat al Nusra, the anti-Assad group, could be dealt with later, say U.S. officials and Syrian opposition leaders...
This year, Turkey has dialed back on its arming efforts as it begins to worry that the influence of extremist rebel groups in Syria might bleed back into Turkey. At Hatay airport, the alleged way station for foreign fighters headed to Syria, the flow has markedly decreased, says a representative of a service company working at the airport.... ."

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