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Radical Groups Operate On Turkey’s Border

Turkey is increasingly identified as a country facilitating radical forces in Syria, and thereby isolated among its allies.
Members of the Free Syrian Army patrol in the northern Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as they are pictured from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR3CZ0L

First there was the report by Human Rights Watch alleging that the massacres of Alawites in the Syrian regime-controlled Latakia area were carried out by Western-supported opposition groups crossing the Turkish border, and then there was the article in the Wall Street Journal that Hakan Fidan, the chief of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization [MIT], has been working as a "traffic cop" directing weapons shipments. This has pasted on Turkey the label of being "the country nurturing al-Qaeda linked groups." Of course, the government totally denies the charges.

What is going on around the border offers us a different view. A reliable source who works on humanitarian relief at the border told me: "Some time ago, 160 fighters were brought to Mersin port in a ship from Yemen. They were transported by buses to the Oncupinar border crossing. From there, a call was made to the commander of the Free Syrian Army [FSA]. When he came, there was bargaining and the middleman asked for $2 million for recruiting and transporting these fighters. Phone calls were placed to Saudi Arabia and the requested amount was transferred to a bank. Then the fighters crossed the border at Oncupinar to Syria’s Selame."

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