Monday, September 19, 2016

10 groups equipped, armed and trained by Qatari and Saudi money: Jihadist Ties to Turkish-Backed Free Syrian Army "Rebels" Raises Questions

In Turkey, questions are being raised about the makeup of the Free Syrian Army "rebels" fighting with Turkish forces in Syria. Opposition deputies accuse the forces of being composed of jihadists, which threatens to have wider regional consequences.

A recently published video shows U.S. Special Forces being forced out of a Syrian town captured by the Free Syrian Army not long ago, to the chants of “Death to America” and “No to U.S. imperialism.”

The FSA forces are part of the Turkish-backed intervention into Syria, aimed at removing Islamic State.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking Monday before leaving for the United Nations General Assembly in New York, downplayed the incident. Erdogan said it was rebel anger toward Washington over what he called its "failed Syria policy." Opposition parties in Turkey say it is further evidence of the Ankara-backed forces' links to radical Jihadist groups.

Ankara has dismissed such concerns, saying all the groups it is backing belong to the moderate opposition.

Well-founded concerns

Political columnist Kadri Gursel of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper says such concerns are well-founded, even though the groups involved are linked to the U.S.-led coalition against "Islamic State".

”These are eight to 10 groups equipped, armed and trained by Qatari and Saudi money organized by Turkey and also helped by the CIA. I do not subscribe to this moderate presentation; they are jihadists, all of them are jihadists and jihadists do cannibalize each other. And we can see former ISIS militants turn to moderate Islamists overnight.”.......

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