News / Middle East

Turkey Holds 10 Suspected of Arming Syria Islamist Rebels-Media

Syria mapSyria 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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs