While Americans continue to be distracted by the discussion over Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, geopolitical tension around the proxy war in Syria has escalated to levels that could lead to regional warfare or open conflict between nuclear superpowers Russia and the United States, as described by military officials from multiple countries. US Army General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that a “no-fly zone” in Syria would lead to war with Russia, during a September 22 Senate committee hearing. Hillary Clinton also admitted similar risks of the military policy she supports for the Syria war, saying “you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians,” during a speech at a Goldman Sachs event.
The most recent attempt to stop the violence was a September 9 ceasefire negotiated by the United States and Russia. However that effort failed after US officials ended talks on October 3, claiming the Syrian military was killing civilians. The ceasefire agreement called for Russia to influence the Syrian government forces to stop fighting for control and for the US to influence rebel groups to separate from terrorist groups Al Nusra and Islamic State so they could be targeted by joint US-Russia military campaigns, a task which the US has failed to do since February 2016 despite US officials claiming to be in daily contact with rebel groups. The increased tension comes as the United States loses leverage in negotiations because of advances the Syrian government forces have made in regaining control over the country with the support of Russian military.
New information about the Syria proxy war continues show that actions by the United States have helped Al Qaeda and the Islamic State gain power in the country, with the goal of allowing the terrorists to overthrow the Syrian government. Evidence for this claim has been reported in small anecdotes by many international media outlets during the violent proxy war which has lasted almost six years, but American reporter Serena Shim dedicated her professional career to proving the United States and allies were purposely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Serena Shim is an American citizen of Lebanese descent who was born near Detroit. Shim worked for Iranian broadcaster Press TV as a foreign correspondent covering wars, legitimate protests and fake uprisings in multiple countries. She reported live from Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon during the conflict since 2011, including in the critical region of Daraa during the beginning of protests, which are misrepresented by American media as the reasons for the fake civil war.
Serena Shim was killed two years ago on October 19, 2014, in Turkey while reporting on the intense battle for the Syrian border city of Kobani which was the focus of international media attention. She was 29 when she died.
The city of Kobani, which has one of Turkey’s major border crossings with Syria, because it was under threat of being completely captured by the Islamic State. The US was forced to respond because Islamic State grew out of control and threatened the border stability of Turkey, and it became the first major area bombed during the US campaign in Syria.
The US and Turkey were also arguing over Washington’s plan to arm Kurdish fighters on the Syrian side of the border and how to allow Kurds from Iraq to support the effort by crossing through Turkey. On the day she was killed, the US began operations to airdrop weapons to the Kurds. Less than two days later, Islamic State fighters released a video showing the capture of an American weapons cache airdropped near the city. The video received international media attention which led the Pentagon to admit the weapons mistakenly reached ISIL terrorists.
It is claimed she was killed in a car accident with a cement truck. However, physical details about the case raise questions about the official explanation by Turkish officials. There are also conflicting stories about the timeline after her death and before the family received her body, which indicate actions by the government of Turkey and possibly the United States.
Two days before her death, Serena Shim reported on live international television that Turkish intelligence services were planning to arrest her for questioning on the suspicion her being a spy. The day after her death, US officials denied releasing any information it had about whether the US government was aware of Turkey’s plans. State Department officials told WTF News it would be December 2017 before a Freedom of Information Act request could be completed for information on what actions were taken by them to assist her as a US citizen.
Serena Shim conducted an undercover investigation in Turkey and Syria lasting multiple months during 2012 as she spoke fluent Arabic. Her report aired on Press TV beginning in December 2012. The issues listed below are topics she reported on first or experienced in person before they were reported by major media outlets. US officials continue to hide her death and not a single major media outlet in America reported on her death at the time despite the fact that she was popular in America and the Middle East.
Clinton admitted, in an email conversation from August 2014 obtained by Wikileaks, that US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were sending money and weapons to ISIL. August 2014 was the height of terror during Islamic State’s rise, leading to the growing international media outrage which forced President Obama to publicly announce the beginning of airstrikes against ISIL in Syria on September 23, 2014.
THE FREE THOUGHT PROJECT
“While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
“The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure.”
The business newspaper Financial Times reported that Prince Saud al-Faisal admitted Saudi Arabia created and funded Islamic State as a response to the US supporting Shia powers in Iraq. The FT also reported in 2013 that Qatar had already spent $3 billion on funding the opposition.
America’s top military official General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked “Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?” by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham. “I know major Arab allies who fund them,” replied Dempsey.
The rapid growth of the Islamic State was not an accident, and many observers of the conflict questioned the US commitment to fighting terrorism as they ignored the group’s rise. Since the start of the armed conflict in 2011, United States officials including Hillary Clinton have publicly stated that their solution to stop the war is to replace Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other government leaders. The public policy of the United States has been to support what the US calls moderate opposition groups under the name Free Syrian Army (FSA) with the goal of having them weaken the government forces.
That strategy changed in mid-2012 as news reports confirmed these rebels were committing war crimes by killing civilians and executing soldiers. One of the largest factions Al Nusra was specifically identified as a terrorist group in December 2012. At the same time, the Islamic State (known as Al Qaeda in Iraq) was growing in Syria and had become a dominant force by 2013. The Islamic State grew in Syria for almost two years before the US announced it would take military action in September 2014. The intelligence report was dated August 2012 confirms the US government would have known about this threat for two years.
“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
Syria has been fought over for two separate gas pipeline projects, a pipeline from Qatar rejected by Assad for one from Iran. The second pipeline is a Russian plan to connect with Turkey to deliver gas to Europe; the deal was finalized less than two weeks ago.
The Syrian war is called a civil war by American media. However, it is most influenced by about 50,000 foreign fighters that have entered the country to fight the war. Estimates for this number vary significantly as US officials (State Dept) claim it is at least 40,000 from 100 countries as of June 2016. However, a credible report from a Syrian group which was circulated in Arab and African newspapers claims it was over 50,000 in mid-2014.
There are no reliable estimates that separate this number into fighters for the Islamic State, Al Nusra or groups the US calls moderate opposition. Russian military sources estimated the number of foreign fighters with ISIL to be approximately 25,000. The remainder would leave at possibly more than 25,000 foreign fighters assigned to other groups.
The following two reports are both regarding the border crossing area in Hatay province of southern Turkey where Serena Shim reported from multiple times. Shim reported on the terrorists traveling to the region to sneak across the border into northwestern Syria where there were many staging area facilities to help organize fighters and transport weapons.
WASHINGTON POST – AUG 12 2014
REYHANLI, Turkey — Before their blitz into Iraq earned them the title of the Middle East’s most feared insurgency, the jihadists of the Islamic State treated this Turkish town near the Syrian border as their own personal shopping mall.
And eager to aid any and all enemies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey rolled out the red carpet.
In dusty market stalls, among the baklava shops and kebab stands, locals talk of Islamist fighters openly stocking up on uniforms and the latest Samsung smartphones. Wounded jihadists from the Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda offshoot also fighting the Syrian government — were treated at Turkish hospitals. Most important, the Turks winked as Reyhanli and other Turkish towns became way stations for moving foreign fighters and arms across the border.
“Turkey welcomed anyone against Assad, and now they are killing, spreading their disease, and we are all paying the price,” said Tamer Apis, a politician in Reyhanli, where two massive car bombs killed 52 people last year.
A CNN report from November 2013 also highlights the scale of terrorist traffic across the Turkey-Syria border. The CNN crew observed arrival traffic from many international countries, attempting to interview men who fit the profile of a jihadist fighter, before working with a local smuggler to find the popular paths across the border to Syria.
CNN – NOV 4 2013
It’s an odd experience flying in to Hatay, southern Turkey, on the border with Syria and its nasty and seemingly infinite war these days: there is a truly international flavor to the passenger manifests.
As we flew in, there were two men from Mauritania, one with a limp, accompanied by a woman from Tunisia. On another flight which we saw land, two young men with large backpacks, coming from Benghazi. On another, four Libyans, also from Benghazi.
Then a young, bearded man with a noticeably thick northern British accent, there to collect a friend from Leicester — the pair absolutely don’t want to talk, especially when I offer them a CNN business card. Then come the Egyptians, and a Gulf Arab — he sounded Saudi — who frantically kissed and embraced the bemused driver there to pick him up.
All these were men travelling in small groups or alone. Most refused to talk at all about why they were there, although the man from Leicester said he was doing humanitarian work, and the Benghazi pair were open about the fact that they were going to Syria.
It’s not a crime to travel to southern Turkey, and there are many foreign aid groups here, so surely many people are traveling innocently. But it is extraordinary to watch this volume of international traffic from countries where al Qaeda has a confirmed and consistent presence into a NATO member state. You find yourself asking: why are these men here, and why don’t they want to talk about it?
A July 2012 news report by Agence France Presse shows early evidence of Al Qaeda terrorists controlling key aspects of the war while international media only reports that moderate rebel volunteers are fighting for freedom. Serena Shim was reporting undercover about this topic during the months that followed for her video exclusive aired in December 2012.
Syrian refugees housed in the Oncupinar camp on the Turkish side of the border took water and food to rebel forces, the news agency added, saying Turkish authorities had prevented people from crossing into Syria for security reasons.
Rebel forces gained control of the Bab al-Hawa crossing between Syria and Turkey on Thursday, but by Saturday evening, a group of some 150 foreign fighters calling themselves as Islamists were in control of the Bab al-Hawa post, an AFP photographer said.
Some of the fighters said they belonged to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), while others claimed allegiance to a group called Shura Taliban.
They were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket launchers and improvised mines.
The fighters identified themselves as coming from a number of countries: Algeria, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and the Russian republic of Chechnya.
There are seven functioning border posts along the nearly 900-kilometre (560-mile) frontier.
The United States and NATO members could have exercised multiple options to control border traffic at the seven major border crossings while applying pressure to the remaining crossing routes in rural areas which are already difficult to travel on because of mountainous terrain. There was a deliberate effort not to do this because it would disrupt the massive flow of weapons and equipment supplied to jihadist fighters by the United States and allies.
US officials often claim that the Free Syrian Army is made of hundreds of groups of Syrian volunteers fighting government forces to prevent civilian massacres. The reality is that the largest groups in control of Syrian opposition territory have the same Salafist philosophy as Al Qaeda and these groups receive help from the US and partners. Many analysts claim the fighters are not accountable to their group’s specific command structure. However, there is a consistent pattern in the actions of these Salafist groups.
Al Nusra, the group known as Al Qaeda in Syria, was the first in the Syrian war to be named a terrorist organization by the US in December 2012. That was after almost a year of clandestine US support as part of opposition groups. Regional news media reported a trend of war crimes committed by Al Nusra fighters, forcing the US and United Nations to declare the group terrorists.
Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam have been prevented by the United States from being declared terrorists at the United Nations, which has been a point of failure in Syria negotiations. As a result, both groups continued to receive protection from America by including the groups in the Syrian ceasefire. They were also the major factions mixed in with al-Nusra in Aleppo, creating the controversy over Russian and Syrian forces bombing the city.
The US defended Ahrar al-Sham after they recently massacred an unknown number of people and kidnapped over 100 from a small village in May 2016. Ahrar has committed numerous war crimes and was singled out for war crimes by Amnesty International just before the Zaara massacre. The Amnesty report condemned the group for torture, kidnapping, and rape as well as using chemical weapons on multiple occasions. It is also believed the group may have killed over a dozen Russian advisors in a car bombing at a base.
Ahrar al-Sham was known to consistently have over 20,000 fighters, despite frequent losses.
Jaysh al-Islam, the other major group considered moderate by the US has grown to 25,000 fighters by some recent estimates. Since 2012, the group has integrated over 100 smaller groups, and Jaysh now leads one of Syria’s largest remaining alliances, Fatah Halab.
In November 2012, Jaysh al-Islam used civilians as human shields by locking them in metal cages on the back of trucks. In April 2016, Jaysh al-Islam admitted to using chemical weapons in the city of Aleppo.
In September 2013, these groups formed a jihadist alliance to fight government forces with the goals of creating their own “Islamic State” based on religious foundations.
WASHINGTON POST – SEP 25 2013
American hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s fractious rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed opposition coalition and announced the formation of a new alliance dedicated to creating an Islamic state.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group, which will further complicate fledgling U.S. efforts to provide lethal aid to “moderate” rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Others include the Tawheed Brigade, the biggest Free Syrian Army unit in the northern city of Aleppo; Liwa al-Islam, the largest rebel group in the capital, Damascus; and Ahrar al-Sham, the most successful nationwide franchise of mostly Syrian Salafist fighters. Collectively, the new front, which does not yet have a formal name but has been dubbed by its members the “Islamist Alliance,” claims to represent 75 percent of the rebels fighting to topple Assad.
After less than one year of fighting, Human Rights Watch wrote a public letter in March 2012 to opposition groups asking them to stop torturing and killing civilians based on religious beliefs.
In 2014, the United Nations estimated that almost half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 22 million people had been displaced by the war, with 3 million refugees leaving for other countries and 6.5 million moving to other regions of Syria. It is widely estimated that Christians made up around 10% of the population and many of the Christian areas have been targeted by opposition groups. Christian villages and areas of larger cities like Homs and Aleppo were targeted early in the war during 2012 before any groups were declared terrorists. As many Christians left their homes and belongings, the situation caught the attention of Christian leadership across the world. US Senator Rand Paul noted that at least President Assad was protecting Christians and other minorities in September 2013.
Reserved and halting, the women described what happened to their husbands, brothers and nephews back in their hometown of Qusayr in Syria. They were killed by Syrian rebel fighters, the women said — murdered because they were Christians, people who in the eyes of radical Islamist freedom fighters have no place in the new Syria.
And some factions within the patchwork of disparate groups that together comprise the Free Syrian Army have radicalized at a very rapid clip in recent months. A few are even being influenced by foreign jihadists who have traveled to Syria to advise them. That, at least, is what witnesses on the ground are reporting in Qusayr, where fierce fighting has raged for months. Control of the town has passed back and forth between the two sides, at times falling into the hands of the regime and at others of the rebels. Currently, fighters with the Free Syrian Army have the upper hand, and they have also made the city of 40,000 residents a place where the country’s Christian minority no longer feels safe.
Other minorities were targeted including the Alawite sect which President Assad is from, the Yazidis, the Druze and even Armenians, which made Hollywood’s Kim Kardashian comment on the war during the height of media coverage.
In July 2016, a video emerged that shows al-Zenki fighters recording themselves beheading a Palestinian boy they claim had been fighting for the Syrian government in Aleppo with the Palestinian-Syrian brigade Liwa al-Quds.
Weapons and equipment provided by the US have been transferred or stolen by terrorists on multiple occasions, and US officials have been questioned about it by Congress and media. The US has been providing nonlethal aid since 2012 with the knowledge that it was likely to be stolen or just used by fighters that defect to terrorist brigades. After the December 2012 terrorist designation of Al Nusra, many groups began to form new alliances because they did not trust the US.
The Obama administration still attempted to claim they were organizing moderate rebels to assist during 2013, but dozens of FSA rebel brigades joined Al Qaeda-linked Ahrar al-Sham as it grew.
One of the most shocking twists in the war happened in December 2013 when Ahrar al-Sham and other groups under the Islamic Front raided an operations center for the US-backed opposition near the Turkish border. Warehouses storing weapons, vehicles, radios, laptops, and other advanced military equipment were raided by the groups, and the battle forced the leader of the opposition to flee the country. US officials announced they were suspending aid delivery until the loyal opposition members could be determined.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the terrorist groups in the Islamic Front numbered about 50,000 fighters, including 20,000 from Ahrar al-Sham and 5 other major FSA brigades that defected. The report claimed the Free Syrian Army was estimated to have only 40,000 fighters, down from estimates of 70,000 to 150,000 fighters.
The operations center is about 5 miles from the important Bab-el-Hawa border crossing in northwest Syria, providing direct access to the strategic city of Aleppo only 30 miles away. Fighters could also reach the area easily from the Hatay airport listed in number 3. Serena Shim reported that terrorists were in complete control of this crossing during multiple reports.
In November 2014, rebels who had received direct US assistance were quickly defeated by Al Nusra during an offensive through the northern province of Idlib. Hundreds of fighters trained by the U.S. fled the area or defected to al-Nusra.
Among the groups whose bases were overrun in the assault was Harakat Hazm, the biggest recipient of U.S. assistance offered under a small-scale, covert CIA program launched this year, including the first deliveries of U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles. The group’s headquarters outside the village of Khan Subbul was seized by Jabhat al-Nusra overnight Saturday, after rebel fighters there surrendered their weapons and fled without a fight, according to residents in the area.
Harakat Hazm, whose name means “Steadfastness Movement,” had also received small arms and ammunition alongside non-lethal aid in the form of vehicles, food and uniforms from the United States and its European and Persian Gulf Arab allies grouped as the Friends of Syria alliance. Scores of its fighters had received U.S. training in Qatar under the covert program, but it was also not possible to confirm whether any of those fighters had defected to the al-Qaeda affiliate.
US-backed rebels ignored their orders after training and defected to al-Nusra with their equipment again in September 2015.
There have been many confusing and temporary alliances based on the groups that control each region, and most are formed with some combination of opposition groups working with Al Nusra or ISIL.
As the Islamic State gained control during 2013 and 2014, ISIL displaced many rebel groups, forcing changes and shaping new relationships.
The Islamic State was originally called Al Qaeda in Iraq, and it is believed that the leadership sent jihadis into Syria to form Al Nusra in 2012. The United States and allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey were supporting Nusra as part of the whole Syrian opposition before Nusra’s terrorist designation in December 2012. After this, many fighters defected to more extremist brigades and brigades formed new alliances. The most immediate reaction came just three weeks after the shift as Ahrar al-Sham announced a new alliance with ten other groups once considered part of the FSA. During 2013, more consolidation occurred mainly around Ahrar al-Sham with smaller Free Syrian Army groups joining new alliances. Ahrar led the new the Islamic Front, and over 60 other groups forming Jaysh al-Islam.
Fighting continued between Islamic State, Al Nusra, and the other Al Qaeda groups during 2014 after the US-backed rebels were raided in December 2013. There were many alliances, despite the fighting, after ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recorded an audio message in January 2014 asking rebel groups to stop fighting each other or Al Nusra. The groups seemed to reach an agreement between leaders in May 2014 as Al-Nusra agreed to an ISIL proposal saying it would stop fighting ISIL if the group ended its attacks.
The Guardian reported in November 2014 that US airstrikes caused thousands of fighters from multiple brigades of the Free Syrian Army to form alliances with ISIL in self-defense.
Weapons have crossed the border into Syria numerous different ways, in some cases facilitated by Turkey’s MIT intelligence service or other Western agencies. The most known incident happened in January 2014 when Turkish police discovered weapons being transported by MIT agents in an attempt to smuggle them into Syria. Military officers were threatened with arrest for treason over the incident and the newspaper editors who released the video were arrested causing national outrage. Former daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar, and his colleague Erdem Gul were sentenced to 5 years in prison. Dündar is currently in Germany with and will not return to Turkey until the state of emergency is ended.
The video published on the Cumhuriyet news website on Friday showed Turkish gendarmerie and police officers finding weapons due for dispatch to Syria on trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
The Cumhuriyet report said the footage was dated January 19, 2014, and described the arms in the trucks as weapons and ammunition.
The Turkish president said the arms shown in the footage were transported to Turkmens in Syria. He added the numbers of weapons were provided to Cumhuriyet by a “parallel state” – political enemies determined to discredit his government.
Reuters also investigated the incident and showed testimony from the gendarmerie and officers. The latter claimed they discovered rocket parts, ammunition, and semi-finished mortar shells that were being transported in trucks accompanied by the country’s state intelligence agency (MIT) to parts of Syria under Islamist control.
At the time of the incident, the Syrian side of the border in Hatay province, neighboring Adana province, was controlled by Ahrar al-Sham, an Islamist group.
The prosecutors said the trucks were searched in several raids by police and the gendarmerie – one in November 2013 and three others in January 2014 – on the orders of prosecutors acting on tip-offs that they were carrying weapons.
In October 2014, US Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that ISIS was strengthened by actions taken by Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Arab allies who were against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Biden also said Turkey, the UAE, and other Arab countries were supplying weapons to al-Qaeda groups in Syria, including the Al Nusra front.
WND – OCT 10 2014
“They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad,” Biden told students. “Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.
“We could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them,” Biden said.
Regarding Turkey’s alleged role, Biden said, “President Erdogan told me, he’s an old friend, said, ‘You were right. We let too many people (including foreign fighters) through.’ Now they are trying to seal their border.”
In another confirmed conspiracy fact, Syrian opposition groups were receiving weapons through Turkey’s ports directly from Libya after the fall of Gaddafi, which may also be a factor in the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in September 2012.
NEW YORK TIMES – JUNE 22 2013
“They collect the weapons, and when they have enough they send it,” he said. “The Libyan government is not involved, but it does not really matter.”
One former senior Obama administration familiar with the transfers said the Qatari government built relationships with Libyan militias in 2011, when, according to the report of a United Nations Panel of Experts, it shipped in weapons to rebel forces there in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
As a result, the Qataris can draw on their influence with Libya’s militias to support their current beneficiaries in Syria. “It’s not that complicated,” the former official said. “We’re watching it. The Libyans have an amazing amount of stuff.”
Syrian activists and Western officials say that like the unregistered arms transfers organized by other Arab states, the shipments from Libya have been very large but have not kept up with the enormous rebel ammunition expenditures each day.
Turkey has intentionally helped both ISIS and Al Qaeda groups use the border with Syria to transport everything needed to fight the war from weapons to reinforcements. The United States and Turkey also ignored the well-known oil trade which functioned almost entirely through Turkey and was linked directly to the brother of Turkey’s President Erdogan.
Most of the support has been the active behavior to allow jihadists to enter Syria as easy as possible, especially through the famous ‘Gateway to Jihad’ near the Reyhanli border crossing where US-backed opposition groups have also been headquartered. Fighters can cross without fear of border guards from Reyhanli through Bab-al-Hawa and choose which direction to travel in Syria based on the groups they are with.
The most direct evidence of Turkey aiding Islamic State in battle came just one week after the death of Serena Shim in October 2014. ISIL fighters were recorded on video talking in friendly conversation with Turkish soldiers across the border, near the battle of Kobane where Shim was reporting. The video caused international outrage about Turkey not fighting Islamic State while the United States allowed it to continue.
DAILY MAIL – OCT 28 2014
A remarkable video has emerged purporting to show Islamic State militants chatting casually with a group of Turkish border guards near the besieged Syrian city of Kobane.
The amateur footage, understood to have been filmed close to Zarova Hill in the outskirts of Kobane, raises serious questions about the apparently relaxed relationship between the terror group and officials from the Nato member state.
It appears to show two heavily armed militants wandering nonchalantly up to the Turkish border fence – displaying shocking bravado as they smile and wave at the camera.
They are met by what appears to be a military vehicle full of security officials who, despite carrying weapons themselves, do little more than break into conversation with the jihadis, who eventually wander off back into Syria while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’.
The clip begins with the two apparent jihadists lighting fires near a group of cars, which are believed to have been abandoned by desperate Kurdish families who fled Kobane in recent weeks when ISIS militants stepped up their attacks on the city.
After appearing to realise they are being filmed from inside Turkey, the pair start walking towards the border fence, stopping only to mockingly wave at the amateur filmmaker.
As they reach the border fence, an armoured military vehicle belonging to Turkish border guards speeds up to meet them. Heavily armed officials jump out the back of the car and – after briefly talking on their radios, simply engage the men in conversation.
At one point the situation appears tense and a border guard scampers towards the militants with his gun briefly raised, but he stops seconds later and also begins talking to the men.
After several minutes chatting, the militants wander off, defiantly raising their index finger to the sky to represent jihadism while chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ – a phrase that translates as ‘God is the greatest’.
There has been continuous objection from opposition party representatives in Turkey as documented by Columbia University professor David Phillips
Kemal Kiliçdaroglu warned the AKP government not to provide money and training to terror groups on October 14, 2014. He said, “It isn’t right for armed groups to be trained on Turkish soil. You bring foreign fighters to Turkey, put money in their pockets, guns in their hands, and you ask them to kill Muslims in Syria. We told them to stop helping ISIS. Ahmet Davutoglu asked us to show proof. Everyone knows that they’re helping ISIS.” (See HERE and HERE.)
Officials revealed stunning developments from 2014 happening in the critical Hatay region where Al Nusra was housed directly using government resources.
HURRIYET – JUNE 13 2014
Meanwhile, CHP Istanbul deputy İhsan Özkes claimed militants of the al-Qaeda splinter group the al-Nusra Front were allowed to stay at the guesthouses of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) under the monitoring of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in the southern province of Hatay.
Özkes, a former mufti, also claimed the order to host the militants was given by former Interior Minister Muammer Güler in a circular sent to the Hatay Governor’s Office, which openly demanded assistance to al-Nusra fighters.
The allegedly official document shown by Özkes reveals that al-Nusra fighters were brought by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in order to fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria.
“It is important to provide the necessary support for the intelligence officers on the issue of assisting the fighters of al-Nusra, including Tunisians and Chechens, who have been brought [here] under the supervision of the MİT to fight against the PKK-affiliated PYD, crossing the borders to Syria and complying with the confidentiality of the matter,” the document reads.
“The province of Hatay has strategic importance in the crossing of fighters from our country’s borders to Syria. The logistics supply to Islamic groups, their training and the treatment of the injured will mostly be carried out from there. The MİT and other relevant authorities have been tasked on the issue,” it also said.
Özkes also accused the government of sending charity money collected by Diaynet to the Islamist fighters. “Have those who fought been sheltered in the Quran classes and dormitories belonging to Diyanet? Is there an Interior Ministry circular that was sent to Diyanet on the issue?” he asked.
A captured ISIL fighter discussed in detail the training he received in a Turkish border town where he spent one month with 60 other fighters on weapons training and then received transport into Syria. The interview in December 2015 confirmed details about daily operations for ISIL in Turkey.
Besides helping to train recruits, the IS prisoner says he was deployed in Syria for brief periods. He was eventually captured in the village of Tal Afer on November 1.
The prisoner also revealed that IS is now receiving ammunition in trucks disguised as non-military cargo. He said that such low-level fighters as him have no idea where the arms come from.
“Weapons were brought to us in civilian cars, not in military ones because fighter jets might have bombed them. ISIL is now mostly using civilian vehicles. I’ve heard they put vegetables on top of boxes with ammunition, so that war planes do not spot them.”
Syria shares a border with only two countries that are friendly to the opposition terrorists, Turkey and Israel, and both have helped the Islamic State and Al Qaeda fighters with medical treatment. Turkey became known for allowing fighters to use their hospitals even among Western groups like the Carnegie Endowment and the Washington Post. Medical facilities in Turkey have treated an unknown number of jihadist fighters in multiple places along the border. In one border town of Antakya, ambulances would pick up wounded left at the border and treat them for free, as reported by Germany’s Spiegel in August 2012.
The hospital in Gaziantep that Serena Shim was taken to is known to treat Islamic State fighters, and the facility is supervised by the daughter of Turkish President Erdogan.
Here on the outskirts of Reyhanli, a few kilometres from Syria, is one of several Turkish medical care points for fighters scattered along the long porous border between the two countries. From outside it looks like a garage rather than a clinic. A guard patrols the roof of the building and young, bearded men on crutches mill around, lowering their voices as we pass.
The guys are fully recovered and ready to go back to Syria.
Inside, the walls are rough and unpainted and water leaks from the ceiling, but the clinic is clean and functional. Opened in 2013 by Fahar el-Hassan, a popular anti-Assad YouTube figure, the clinic hosts just over 35 men aged between 15 and 40: “It is a place where patients can receive further cures once they are released from Turkish hospitals, but mainly find a bed and time to rest,” Hassan said.
The fighters come from Idlib, Aleppo, Hama and the surrounding villages in rebel-held Syria. Most are linked to various militias fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, including Ahrar al-Sham. Turkey does not officially allow the setting up of ‘field hospitals’ on its territory and so the clinics are known as ‘medical care points’ – but the difference is only one of semantics.
As part of the growing concern in the United Kingdom about the Syrian war, the Daily Mail reported that Israeli forces had saved more than 2,000 people since 2013 until December 2015, after visiting hospitals near the Golan Heights border where wounded jihadists are left for pickup. It is unclear how many are fighters, but one analyst reported “there are not too many civilians left because of the fighting raging there,” according to Foreign Policy. It is a valuable asset for groups to know they can receive care at Israeli hospitals and the fighters treated were likely the most valuable members who survived, allowing them to be treated with the limited spots available and sent back to the battlefield. ‘Most fighters know they will get good care here’ as reported in a headline by Jerusalem Post.
Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state.
Israel insists that these treacherous nightly rescues are purely humanitarian, and that it can only hope to ‘win hearts and minds’ in Syria. But analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran.
There is no doubt about the danger involved. Many of the casualties rescued by Israel belong to Salafist groups who harbour a deep-seated hatred of the Jewish State. It has also been reported that some may be members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group affiliated to Al Qaeda that has kidnapped scores of UN peacekeeping troops in this area, and has massacred Christians deeper in Syria.
It is unclear how the two enemies arrange the rescue. All that has been disclosed is that word reaches Israeli forces that casualties have been dumped at the border, intelligence establishes that it is not a trap, and the commandos are sent in.
In the three years that Israel has been running these operations, it has saved the lives of more than 2,000 Syrians – at least 80 per cent of whom are male and of fighting age – at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7 million).
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited an Israeli Defense Forces field hospital in the Golan Heights region which treats wounded civilians but also treats many jihadist fighters.
The Israeli government could use its military resources to aid the humanitarian effort for the Syrian people by working with the US, but instead, it chooses to give medical help to Al Qaeda terrorists. Why?
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