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Turkey sets up secret base at border to arm Syrian rebel gangs

rebel gangs

by Joseph Earnest  July 27, 2012                   


Newscast Media DAMASCUS, Syria—Turkey has set up a secret base near the Syrian border to send military and communications supplies to armed groups fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to a Qatari source, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending weapons and communications equipment for Syrian rebels via the base, which is located in the southern Turkish city of Adana, about one hundred kilometers from Syria's border, Reuters reported on Friday.

"Three governments are supplying weapons: Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia," said the unnamed Doha-based source.

"It's the Turks who are militarily controlling it (the base). Turkey is the main coordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom," the source said adding that Qatar has a key role in directing operations at the base with Qatari military intelligence and state security officials involved. The US intelligence is also believed to be involved in the secret anti-Syria "nerve center" and that they are working through middlemen.

According to the source, the base was set up after Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud visited Turkey and requested it.

Adana is home to Incirlik, a large Turkish-US air force base, but it was not clear from the source whether the secret anti-Syria center was located inside Incirlik base or in the city of Adana.

Ankara has vehemently denied involvement in the Syrian unrest and supplying rebels with weapons, but the presence of the secret anti-Damascus center in Turkey may explain how the Syrian rebels are staging their deadly attacks such as the devastating bomb attack in Damascus on July 18 which killed at least four high-profile security and military officials, including the defense minister and his deputy who is also President Assad's brother-in-law.

Syria has been the scene of violence by armed groups since March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces.
Damascus blames "outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups" for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
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