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23 Feb, 2012 11:58

Frontier front: Syrian rebels trapped near Turkey

Frontier front:  Syrian rebels trapped near Turkey

Syrian frontier guards are battling militants who have infiltrated from Turkey, as the army deploys troops to quash hostile forces trapped in the mountains. The clashes highlight claims outside forces are actively fueling the conflict in Syria.

North to the Syrian city of Aleppo (340 kilometers from Damascus) frontier guards have eliminated several subversives, captured some and sent others fleeing when a group of militants made an attempt to infiltrate the country from Turkey, reports ITAR-TASS news agency.Troop reinforcements are being brought to Idlib province on the Syrian-Turkish border to crush rebels from the so-called Free Syrian Army located in El Baida settlement, some 30 kilometers from the Turkish border. Syrian Arab news agency (SANA) reports that servicemen captured five dangerous terrorists, including one high on the wanted list, Muhammed Suleiman.These bandits were known for their brazen crimes, the report says. They blocked roads to kill soldiers and officers of Syrian army, kidnapped people for ransom, and attacked food and fuel convoys.The latest assault by insurgents who have crossed the border from Turkey follows a litany of accusations directed at several foreign powers, specifically Ankara, in arming and directing the Syrian opposition.On Tuesday, Jordan-based AlBawaba news website reported over 10,000 Libyans were being trained in a closed-off zone in Jordan before being sent off to Syria to fight alongside the opposition.The site also claimed Saudi Arabia and Qatar were paying the anti-Gaddafi mercenaries US$1,000 a month to take up arms against Assad.Concurrently, several Iranian news sources report that some 50 Turkish officers detained in Syria admitted to being trained by Israeli Special Forces to help destabilize the Syrian regime.In December, FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds said American and NATO forces had been training Syrian rebels in southeastern Turkish city of Hakkari since May of last year, Press TV reported.Edmonds further stated US was actively smuggling arms into Syria from Incirlik military base in Turkey, as well as financing Syrian rebels.The previous month, Russia’s Kommersant daily had also reported on operations being directed from Turkish territory.While many of those reports remain unsubstantiated, the fact that the Syrian National Council (SNC) was itself formed in Istanbul in August of last year only highlights Turkey’s role in the conflict.Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, a political analyst from Britain's Politics First online magazine, told RT how the Western interests are executed via the SNC.“They [the SNC] supply the Western governments and media with information – damning information, in their opinion, – on President Assad and his government. The Western objective is the regime change and that is the main role of the SNC. A lot of caution should be attached to them.”Turkey’s zero-tolerance policy towards Syria has only furthered speculation that a quid pro quo relationship with Washington seeks to establish Turkey’s place as a leading regional power.But Dr. Papadopoulos believes that foreign meddling in Syria could lead to grave consequences for the entire region.“Any conflict in the Middle East has the potential to turn the entire region into a vast firestorm. The fact that the American and British governments are implicitly encouraging the Syrian opposition is only making things worse in Syria and is only resulting in more casualties and tragedies.”