News / Middle East

Turkey Holds 10 Suspected of Arming Syria Islamist Rebels-Media

Syria map Syria map
x
Syria map
Syria map
Reuters
Turkey detained 10 people on Tuesday on suspicion of providing weapons and fighters in the name of al-Qaida to Islamist rebels trying to topple the Syrian government, highlighting the dilemma Turkey faces as one of the rebel movement's biggest backers.

Turkey, which is now hosting some 400,000 Syrians who have fled the war, is one of President Bashar al-Assad's most outspoken critics and has given the rebels shelter and logistical support, although it denies arming them.

A camp dedicated to soldiers who have defected from the Syrian government army sits along Turkey's southern border with Syria and rebel fighters are able to cross freely back and forth across the frontier.

Yet at the same time, it has no desire to let the radical Islamist groups who have joined the rebel cause, notably the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front, operate on its territory or recruit Turkish citizens.

The suspects were arrested in Konya province, some 250 km south of the capital Ankara, after police were tipped off that a "radical Islamist group'' was persuading young men to join the Syrian insurgents, Turkey's private Dogan News Agency said.

According to the report, the men were also suspected of supplying handguns and rifles to the rebels, who have been fighting to overthrow Assad in a civil war that started as a peaceful street uprising two years ago.

Konya police declined to comment on the detentions.

Television footage on Dogan's website showed handcuffed men with long beards being escorted to police headquarters after being detained during what it said were dawn raids at several addresses in Konya.

"This case is not about al-Qaida, we have been detained because we read the Koran, because we are Muslims, and because we help Syrians,'' one man told reporters as he was led away.

Western powers, who have also pledged aid for the rebels but stopped short of providing weapons, have also expressed concern that al-Qaida-affiliated militants have been gaining ground in Syria. Reports are growing that their numbers are being swelled by foreigners, including Turks.

Last week, Turkish media reported that police had uncovered a plot linked to al-Qaida to bomb the U.S. embassy in Ankara, a synagogue in Istanbul and other targets.

Unconfirmed reports said more than 10 people had been arrested and explosives seized in relation to the suspected plot during police raids in February in Istanbul and Tekirdag, to the west.

Earlier in February, a suicide bomber killed one Turkish security guard and wounded several other people in an attack on the U.S. mission in Ankara that was claimed by a leftist group.

While Turkish police often arrest suspected Islamist militants and describe them as having links to al-Qaida, details seldom emerge. Al-Qaida was behind bomb attacks in 2003 that killed some 60 people and wounded hundreds in Istanbul.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid