Turkey Denies Backing al-Qaeda in NW Syria

Officials Had Been Quoted Only Yesterday Taking Credit for Qaeda Gains

Yesterday, Turkish officials were quoted in the Associated Press touting a new deal with Saudi Arabia, and crediting the pact for the recent gains by al-Qaeda dominated rebels in NW Syria. They said they were offering logistics support in hopes of speeding up regime change.

Supporting al-Qaeda was maybe not the best thing to admit to, so today Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is angrily denying the claims, insisting the deal with the Saudis is “nothing new” and that they are absolutely not helping al-Qaeda.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic insisted that al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front was on Turkey’s list of banned terrorist organizations, and therefore it would be impossible for turkey to be aiding it.

Turkish denial notwithstanding, al-Qaeda is scoring massive gains against the Syrian military in the Idlib Province, and is looking to expand westward toward the coast. This is set to leave Turkey with two jihadist statelets on its southern border, one run by al-Qaeda and the other run by ISIS.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.