Turkey sets terms for backing Free Syrian Army: Bow to Muslim Brotherhood group

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — Turkey, aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood, has cracked
down on the rebel army in Syria.

Opposition sources said the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan
has frozen Free Syrian Army bank accounts in an effort to pressure
the rebels to recognize the authority of the Brotherhood-aligned Syrian
National Council.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. /Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

“The popularity of the Free Syrian Army inside Syria is a sore issue with Erdogan and the MB,” the Reform Party of Syria said. “From a strategic point of view, control of the Free Syrian Army by the MB is an essential component for which it must not fail.”

The Washington-based opposition movement asserted that Ankara imposed sanctions on FSA on Nov. 30 after the secular rebel army refused to take orders from SNC. FSA, based in Turkey, was said to be entirely dependent on Ankara for safe haven of its fighters as well as training and logistics.

The sources said FSA attacks on Syrian military installations and
convoys increased the credibility of the rebel force, particularly with NATO. They said Britain and France were persuaded to cooperate with FSA, which consists of thousands of deserters from the Syrian Army.

For its part, SNC has been strongly supported by Arab opponents of
Assad. They were said to include Qatar and Saudi Arabia, deemed primary
financiers of the revolt in Syria.

“Tensions are also rising over the little financial aid the FSA is
getting from Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose aim is to control the organization
to serve the MB,” RPS, which supports the secular opposition, said.

In late November, Turkey hosted the first meeting of the leadership of
FSA and SNC. Following the session in the southwestern town of Hatay, SNC
said FSA agreed to end all but defensive operations in Syria.

RPS president Farid Ghadry said SNC contains elements of the Palestinian
insurgency group Hamas. Ghadry cited Ahmed Ramadan, identified as a leading
operative and, until May, news director of the Hamas television
station in Beirut.

“Ahmed Ramadan today is one of the behind-the-scene operatives of the
SNC providing capital, logistics and advice,” RPS said. “That’s a known and
public fact to many Syrians, including two RPS supporters who attended the
first meeting.”

RPS said Turkey has directed French military aid to Islamic fighters who
posed as defectors from FSA. RPS said Erdogan sought to recruit Western
support for the Brotherhood, targeted as a future proxy for Turkey in Syria.

“The MB military wing would become Turkey’s proxy against the Kurds,”
RPS said.

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