Turkey Providing Military Training to Syrian Rebels, Says FSA Fighter

Murky reports had not confirmed the existence of Turkish training camps for rebels, until testimony of FSA fighter

by John Glaser, August 04, 2012

Turkey is providing active military training to members of the Free Syrian Army through a secret program run at Turkish military camps, according to one Syrian opposition fighter.

“The Turkish people are really helping us. Lots of people are getting training in those camps,” said Thwaiba Kanafani, a Canadian originally from Syria who has recently joined the rebel militias fighting to oust the Assad regime. “The training is really professional. You can only sleep four hours a day. You have to climb mountains, you get weapons training. It’s hard work.”

Going back many months, it has been widely known that Syria’s rebel fighters in the Free Syrian Army were receiving safe haven across the border in Turkey. It has also been confirmed that Turkey, along with the US and its allies in the Gulf Arab states, has been providing aid in the form of communications equipment, intelligence, and weaponry.

But an active military training program was less concrete. Turkey has denied supplying the Syrian rebels with weapons and has refused to confirm the existence of the base or bases where they are being trained. But Kanafani’s account conforms to previous reports about these activities.

Syrian opposition sources have also told the BBC “they have been called to meetings with foreigners in Istanbul in recent weeks to discuss recruiting volunteers from different cities in Syria to staff an ‘operation room’ in Turkey.”

“The aim is to co-ordinate and plan rebel actions and the supply of weapons,” reports the BBC.

The news comes as reports of brutality and war crimes by the Free Syrian Army increase almost daily. The reckless policy of backing rebel militias, despite their ties to terrorists, and trying to overthrow the Assad regime by proxy is immoral, dangerous, and holds huge potential for blowback once these increasingly extremist religious Sunni fighters make even greater gains in Syria.

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