URGENT: NATO’s Turkey Providing Air Support for Al Qaeda in Northern Syria

March 25, 2014 (Mimi Al Laham) – The downing
of a Syrian jet by Turkey was not an isolated incident but part of a
major offensive by Al Qaeda affiliated groups Jabhat Al Nusra (designated a terrorist organization by the US State Department) and Ahrar
Al Sham against a northwestern Syrian-Turkish border crossing.  Turkey has been
supporting Al Qaeda’s attack on the Kassab border crossing, the only
crossing that was still held by the Syrian military. While the AFP did report that
the group involved in the attack was the AlQaeda faction Jabhat Al
Nusra , this fact has not made it to any mainstream media headline.

turkey backing alqaeda Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Jet to Support AlQaeda Offensive

Image: Excerpt from AFP reporting Al Qaeda forces involved in the Kassab cross-border assault.

Jabhat
Al Nusra, are also actively being given safe haven by Turkey. The  map
below shows the Al Qaeda Camp within the Turkish border from which the
attack on the Kassab border crossing came. AlQaeda militants also
brazenly videotaped themselves walking right through the Turkish Kassab
border gate into Syria without any harassment from Turkish guards.

kassab border crossing1 Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Jet to Support AlQaeda Offensive

Another
Al Qaeda offshoot fighting along side Jabhat Al Nusra in the offensive
is ‘Ahrar Al Sham’. While the rebel group is not yet designated Al Qaeda
by the US State Department, the group was founded by Abu Khaled as-Suri,
Al Zawahiri’s ambassador to Syria.  Ahrar Al Sham was described as ‘Al Qaeda worth befriending’ by
the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Washington’s premier think tank.
 Charles Lister, a fellow at of the Brookings Institution, tweets video of Ahrar Al Sha’am taking part in the attack on Latakia.

1920339 10152030215563519 1104190417 n Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Jet to Support AlQaeda Offensive
Image: Al Qaeda rockets fall on Latakia province, killing 7 and injuring 30.

It was reported
that Turkey had begun shelling inside Syrian soil to back the offensive
on the border point. Turkish artillery and tanks targeted Syrian
positions, and Turkish special forces have been observed in the
region. A Lebanon based satelite channel Al Mayadeen TV reported
that the Syrian Army launched a counterattack on the border point Nabie
Al Murr with Turkey , along with dense artillery cover. In response
to the Syrian defensive measures against the AlQaeda attack, Turkey
downed a Syrian jet that was firing on the Al Qaeda militants from Syrian airspace. Turkey’s claims that the Syrian jet violated Turkish airspace
is contradicted by the fact the plane crashed over Syrian territory as shown
in a video posted by Al Qaeda in the area. The pilot managed to safely eject and was picked up in Syria, and was even interviewed by Syrian state TV.

 

The Al Qaeda attack and takeover of the Kassab border crossing has caused up to 2000 to 6000 Armenian Syrians to flee the area. Mass looting and destruction of religious sites was reported
by residents (similarto criminal acts carried out in the recently liberated city of Yabroud). 

Armenians are once again refugees due to the Turkish government
like their ancestors who fled the Armenian Holocaust decades ago. 

There has been no mention on the BBC of NATO’s open support for Al Qaeda groups. The attack comes in the backdrop of mass rallies against Turkish President Erdogan, who recently banned Twitter.

The battles in Latakia are ongoing, with the Syrian military inflicting heavy losses on Al Qaeda militants.

About The Author

Syrian activist and blogger Mimi Al Laham can be followed at
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www.twitter.com/partisangirl