September 18, 2013

Turkey Shoots Down Syrian Helicopter, Harbors Al-Qaeda, Looks To Play Spoiler (Videos)

While President Obama and President Putin are busy making responsible deals and coming to an adult agreement about Syria, at least for now, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan is doing everything in his power to increase tensions along Turkey's border with Syria and jump-start a larger war.

"Turkey scrambled its F-16 fighter jets on Monday to shoot down Syria’s Russian-built Mi-17 helicopter, claiming that it was forced to take the decision after the helicopter intruded two km inside Turkish airspace," reports Atul Aneja for The Hindu.

The blog "friday-lunch-club" says Turkey is rushing to "play spoiler."

The writer 'b' of Moon of Alabama wrote on Monday:
The Turkish air force shot down a Syrian helicopter that, it alleges, violated Turkish airspace. The helicopter fell on Syrian ground. This, to me, seems to be an attempt to insert a spoiler into the recently achieved U.S.-Russian understanding about Syria's disarmament of chemical weapons. That spoiler, and others to come, will likely be ignored by the relevant sides.
Turkey is not only fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime, it is also keeping an eye on the Kurds in northeast Syria. Turkey is backing Al-Qaeda to constrain the mobility of Kurdish fighters belonging to the PYD, the leading Kurdish political party in Syria.

On Friday, September 13, Amberin Zaman wrote in an article for Al-Monitor called, "Turkey’s Syria Border on Edge":
I would have to cross into Syria illegally because Turkey’s formal border crossings with the Kurdish region remain sealed. My destination was the PYD-controlled town of Ras al-Ain, or Serekaniye in Kurdish, that stands opposite Ceylanpinar on the Turkish side. Colleagues who had used smuggler routes to get in assured me that I would sail through. But when I arrived in Ceylanpinar, I learned that the trip across included wiggling my way through barbed-wire fencing and risking being spotted by trigger-happy Turkish border guards. I dropped the idea, deciding instead to investigate widespread claims that Turkey is propping up Syrian rebels in a little-reported proxy war against the PYD.
Al-Qaeda figthers are being treated at Turkish hospitals, as well as sprawling refugee camps. Zaman writes:
In Ceylanpinar, the word around town was that a fresh batch of wounded rebels had been secretly ferried from the TIGEM compound to the nearest state-run hospitals. A security guard who works at a sprawling refugee camp housed within the TIGEM grounds claimed that the camp doubled up as a “base for the rebels.” He said he had “witnessed with my own eyes” a group of 40 rebel fighters cross over from the camp to Tel Halef.

“It was around a month ago, I was told by the gendarmerie to shut up about it.” He had also seen wounded fighters being brought in. He reckoned they were taken to the provincial capital Urfa. The Turkish government dismisses all such claims.
When asked about their support for Al-Qaeda in their war against Kurdish towns in Syria, Turkish officials refuse to answer the question. But, some progress has been made. It should not be forgotten that less than a year ago the Turkish government was repeating the USraeli-created narrative that the groups fighting Assad are simply moderates who want freedom and democracy.

Raw: Turkey Says It Shot Down Syrian Helicopter. Source: AP.

AMATEUR FOOTAGE: Syrian government helicopter 'shot down' by Turkish forces. Source: ITN.

Car bomb causes more tension along Syria Turkey border. Source: Euronews.

Raw: Car Bomb Rocks Syria, Turkey Border. Source: AP.