Turkey sets up secret base to bring aid to Syria rebels, sources say

A Doha-based source said that Turkey is controlling the base militarily, in coordination with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.


Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border, Gulf sources have told Reuters.

News of the clandestine Middle East-run “nerve centre” working to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad underlines the extent to which Western powers – who played a key role in unseating Muammar Gadhafi in Libya – have avoided militaryinvolvement so far in Syria.

“It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the mainco-ordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,” said a Doha-based source.

“The Americans are very hands-off on this. U.S. intel(ligence) are working through middlemen. Middlemen arecontrolling access to weapons and routes.”

The centre in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 100 km from the Syrian border, was set up after Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud visitedTurkey and requested it, a source in the Gulf said. The Turks liked the idea of having the base in Adana so that they could supervise its operations, he added.

A Saudi foreign ministry official was not immediately available to comment on the operation.

Adana is home to Incirlik, a large Turkish/U.S. air forcebase which Washington has used in the past for reconnaissance and military logistics operations. It was not clear from the sources whether the anti-Syrian “nerve centre” was located inside Incirlik base or in the city of Adana.

Qatar, the tiny gas-rich Gulf state which played a leading part in supplying weapons to Libyan rebels, has a key role indirecting operations at the Adana base, the sources said. Qatari military intelligence and state security officials are involved.

“Three governments are supplying weapons: Turkey, Qatar andSaudi Arabia,” said a Doha-based source. Ankara has officially denied supplying weapons.

“All weaponry is Russian. The obvious reason is that these guys (the Syrian rebels) are trained to use Russian weapons, also because the Americans don’t want their hands on it. All weapons are from the black market. The other way they getweapons is to steal them from the Syrian army. They raid weapons stores.”

The source added: “The Turks have been desperate to improve their weak surveillance, and have been begging Washington fordrones and surveillance.” The pleas appear to have failed. “So they have hired some private guys come do the job.”

President Barack Obama has so far preferred to use diplomatic means to try to oust Assad, although Secretary ofState Hillary Clinton signaled this week that Washington plans to step up help to the rebels.

Reuters has established that Obama’s aides have drafted a resolution which would authorize greater covert assistance tothe rebels but still stop short of arming them.

The White House’s wariness is shared by other Western powers. It reflects concerns about what might follow Assad inSyria and about the substantial presence of anti-Western Islamists and jihadi fighters among the rebels.

The presence of the secret Middle East-run “nerve centre” may explain how the Syrian rebels, a rag-tag assortment of ill-armed and poorly organized groups, have pulled off major strikes such as the devastating bomb attack on July 18 which killed at least four key Assad aides including the defense minister.

A Turkish diplomat in the region insisted however that hiscountry played no part in the Damascus bombing.

“That’s out of the question,” he said. “The Syrian minister of information blamed Turkey and other countries for thekilling. Turkey doesn’t do such things. We are not a terrorist country. Turkey condemns such attacks.”

However, two former senior U.S. security officials said thatTurkey has been playing an increasing role in sheltering andtraining Syrian rebels who have crossed into its territory.

One of the former officials, who is also an adviser to agovernment in the region, told Reuters that 20 former Syrian generals are now based in Turkey, from where they are helping shape the rebel forces. Israel believes up to 20,000 Syrian troops may now have defected to the opposition.

Former officials said there is reason to believe the Turksstepped up their support for anti-Assad forces after Syria shotdown a Turkish plane which had made several passes over borderareas.

Sources in Qatar said the Gulf state is providing training and supplies to the Syrian rebels.

“The Qataris mobilized their special forces team two weeks ago. Their remit is to train and help logistically, not to fight,” said a Doha-based source with ties to the FSA.

Qatar’s military intelligence directorate, Foreign Ministry and State Security Bureau are involved, said the source.

  1. #1 by SazzyLilSmartAzz on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    The Turkish government is just another Israeli prostitute.

  2. #2 by Naeem on 07/28/2012 - 9:34

    al assad has just played a chess move against erdobum by giving autonomy to the kurds in the north of syria.

    An interview with a turkish newspaper editor who is completely delusional of the facts and is unhappy with kurdish recent gains.

  3. #3 by SazzyLilSmartAzz on 07/29/2012 - 9:34

    Turkey decides future of Syria: FM Ahmet Davutoglu

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Ankara will decide the future of Syria; an apparent interference in the internal affairs of the Arab country.


  4. #4 by Al Hind Sipahi on 07/29/2012 - 9:34

    The Kurds (backed by Israel) are building a new nation in the middle east.

    NB: The Kurds have suffered alot at the hands of other nations, so I can understand why they want their homeland, but siding with Israel means only one thing, there will be no free Kurdistan, just a vassal state controlled by Kurdish-Jews, who now own much of northern Iraq.


    Turkey Says It ‘Will Not Tolerate’ a Kurdish Sanctuary in Syria

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will not tolerate a Kurdish safe-haven in Syria following reports that Kurdish rebels and a Syrian Kurdish political party had taken control of large swathes of territory along the Turkish-Syrian border.

    Erdogan emphasized Turkey’s concern that a Kurdish authority in the north of Syria could provide a sanctuary to Turkey’s own Kurdish separatists for them to possibly launch attacks into Turkey.

    “We will not allow a terrorist group to establish camps in northern Syria and threaten Turkey,” he said on Thursday. “If there is a step which needs to be taken against the terrorist group, we will definitely take this step.”

    Late on Thursday Turkey mobilized and deployed tanks and missile batteries on the Syrian border near the Kurdish region, prompting concern Syria’s internal conflict could spill outside its own borders. Turkey is a NATO member state, so if it decides to engage it could have serious consequences.

    But Erdogan’s government has been allowing Syrian rebels to establish bases in Turkey, from which they launch attacks into Syria. Apparently, the Turkish motto is ‘do as we say, not as we do.’

    When Syria began to descend into extreme violence, Turkey gave shelter to the Syrian rebel fighters and eventually provided them with lethal and non-lethal aid, despite their having ties to terrorist groups and having committed serious crimes themselves. That Turkey would complain about Syria committing to the mirror image of its own policies is embarrassing.

    The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey for decades, has been condemned as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. During the 1990s, Washington supported Turkey major atrocities in the southeast Kurdish region, leaving the countryside devastated with tens of thousands killed and millions displaced.

  5. #5 by Ghazi Al Hind on 07/29/2012 - 9:34


    Assad Grants Autonomy to Kurdish Region, Prompting Threats From Turkey

    Syrian President Bashar Assad, amid growing unrest, has granted control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds, long branded as terrorists by Turkey, in a provocation that could lead the conflict to break out internationally.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier said that Turkey would not accept an autonomous Kurdish area in Syria, fearing separatist Kurds in Turkey would use it as a safe-haven to launch cross-border attacks.

    Late on Thursday Turkey mobilized and deployed tanks and missile batteries on the Syrian border near the Kurdish region, with Erdogan commenting if the Kurds control these areas, “then intervening would be our most natural right.”

    Kurdish control of these border areas are an apparent consequence of the chaos of Syria’s internal conflict, in which the US and its allies are sending aid, intelligence, and weapons to the Syrian rebels, despite numerous crimes and ties to terrorist groups.

    Turkish military intervention against the Assad regime came close to being a reality back a few months ago when Syria downed a Turkish fighter jet that went into Syrian airspace. Turkey has shown little hesitation to attack its neighbors if they feel their Kurdish threat demands it, as cross-border attacks into Iraq’s Kurdish region in recent months has shown.

    If Turkey, a NATO member, involves itself in the Syrian conflict in a direct and belligerent way, it could have far reaching consequences, with possible implications of a US intervention.

  6. #6 by Ghazi Al Hind on 07/29/2012 - 9:34

  7. #7 by ruby22-kate on 07/29/2012 - 9:34

    A separate state for the Kurds plays right into israel’s wish to balkanize the Middle East. French and English colonization of the Middle East has laid the groundwork for divide and conquer. The provocations against Syria could be the beginning of unraveling the zionist grasp in the region, possibly the end of the egregious zionist project of colonizing Palestine & end the brutal occupation of the steadfast Palestinian resistance.

    In the world view, it seems that everyone knows the US is financially supporting the Syrian opposition. Yet the US is clumsy as it strives for plausible denial, for what is to me an incomprehensible reason. Can anyone here tell me why, what explains this sudden attempt at distance?

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