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Turkey backing off support for jihadists on Syria border

Turkey’s fading support for Syria’s jihadists is a boon for the PYD; Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tells Al-Monitor Ankara never aided al-Qaeda-affiliated groups.
A woman stands beside the coffin of a Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) soldier who died fighting the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra in Qamishli November 14, 2013. Picture taken November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Massoud Mohammed (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX15H58

TOPCU, Turkey — The dull thud of a mortar shell, the crackle of gunfire — these are the sounds of daily life in this remote village on the Turkish Syrian border. “Look,” said Abdulkadir Isikdogan, a local youth gesturing toward shattered window panes and pockmarked walls. “Sometimes, the bullets hit us as well; we are lucky to have escaped unscathed.”

Topcu, on the Turkish side of the border, is on the front line of a vicious turf war between the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Salafist groups led by Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Ahrar al-Sham. The battle, which has Topcu caught in its crosshairs, is over a village called Susik that keeps switching hands.

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