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The Syrian funeral that divided Turkey

A funeral ceremony for a controversial Syrian militant, known as “the singer of the revolution,” has sparked indignation in Turkey.
People gather during the funeral of Abdelbasset al-Sarout, 27, who died from wounds he sustained battling in northwest Syria, in the border town of al-Dana, Idlib, Syria June 9, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashaw - RC16B44F3FF0
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Given Ankara's long-running support for armed groups in Syria, it's not unnatural that a funeral ceremony for a commander of one of those groups be held in Turkey. Abdel Baset al-Sarout, 27, a commander in Jaysh al-Izza who became a media icon, was taken to a hospital in Reyhanli in Hatay province on June 8. Sarout soon succumbed to his injuries, and a crowded funeral ceremony took place at Tevhid Mosque in Reyhanli the following day, before his body was sent to Syria for burial.​

Turkish hospitals in border provinces like Hatay, Kilis and Gaziantep have treated many rebels wounded on Syrian battlefields, including members of the Islamic State (IS). The benevolence of the Turkish state had only stirred limited criticism thus far, as many see the government’s actions as standing by the oppressed.

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