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MIDEAST > Turkey closes Syria border gate as US suspends non-lethal aid

ANKARA / HATAY

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A youth sits on a barricade as people carrying their belongings walk at the Syrian border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, at the Syrian-Turkish border, on Oct 22.  REUTERS photo

A youth sits on a barricade as people carrying their belongings walk at the Syrian border crossing of Bab al-Hawa, at the Syrian-Turkish border, on Oct 22. REUTERS photo

Turkey has closed the Cilvegözü border crossing with Syria after a newly established Islamist rebel alliance seized the gate on the other side of the border. The seizure also prompted the United States to suspend all non-lethal assistance into northern Syria.

A statement from the Customs and Trade Ministry said the Bab al-Hawa crossing on the Syrian side was recently captured by a moderate Islamic group, referring to the Islamic Front, which was formed last month by six rebel groups that merged with the goal of overthrowing the al-Assad regime and establishing an Islamic state. The statement also added that the Cilvegözü border crossing in the southeastern province of Hatay had been closed to the transit of passengers and vehicles.

Last week the Islamic Front rejected the authority of the mainstream Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was the first major rebel force formed after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war and was made up of army deserters and civilians. The capture of the Bab al-Hawa crossing came after the Islamic Front seized arms depots near the crossing belonging to the FSA at the weekend, heightening tensions among the fractured Syrian opposition. It was unclear why the Islamic Front had seized the FSA premises and it was not known whether any stock had gone missing.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Ankara said Washington had suspended all non-lethal assistance into northern Syria after the Islamic Front forces’ seizure of headquarters and warehouses belonging to the FSA.

“As a result of this situation, the United States has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria,” the spokesman said, adding that humanitarian assistance was not impacted because it is distributed through international and non-governmental organizations.

The U.S. Embassy spokesman said the situation was being investigated “to inventory the status of U.S. equipment and supplies provided to the opposition’s Supreme Military Council [SMC].”

December/11/2013

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mara mcglothin

12/15/2013 4:40:21 PM

Yeah DANIEL did you miss Hamas leader speaking at the AKP national convention???? hmmmm

Baris

12/13/2013 2:10:42 AM

...Its political wing has always been under the control of its armed wing, which killed Kurds and Turks alike. Over the past 15 years or so many Kurdish rights were granted and the deep state’s wings have been clipped so that there’s no more organised torture or disappearances. One thing hasn’t changed, though; PKK’s terror. Why are they still armed and kidnap people and burn machines, when there are free elections and PKK has a political party and Kurdish issue is openly discussed in the media?

Baris

12/13/2013 2:09:38 AM

GT Baden, deep state was/is a secret illegal organisation embedded within the state and operated independently from it. It was just as bloody and ruthless as the PKK and it killed the 17K under its own initiative, not at the state’s request. You’re right, if Turkey was democratic, PKK wouldn't have resorted to "armed struggle", because it wouldn't have existed. But it does, and from the moment of its establishment up till now, killing and destruction has been its main tool...

GT Baden

12/12/2013 5:32:23 PM

Baris : It is known as 'state' NOT 'deep state' in eastern Turkey because assailants of 17K people are still 'unknown'. If Turkey was a democratic state , I am sure PKK wouldn't have resorted to armed struggle, thereby you don't have right to compare those turkish criminals with an organization which has been instrumentalizing its political wing as well. As of 2013, PKK has been waiting for new reforms to lay down arms, at this stage calling it terorrist changes nothing for the better.

Jobs jon

12/12/2013 4:18:48 PM

Why so many people and governments have serious problems with the word "Islam” and “Muslims”. Did Muslims kill 6m Jews, around 15m Chinese and around 8m Russians? Are Muslims burning mosques in CAR right now? Have Muslims killed many people earlier this year in Burma. Did Muslims slaughter innocent people and animals in Jerusalem during Crusader holy wars?

Baris

12/12/2013 2:24:33 PM

GT Baden, I am well aware of the atrocities committed by the Turkish deep state. The point is, I will never claim the Turkish deep state wasn't terrorist, as you are claiming the PKK isn't terrorist. They are/were both terrorists.

A.MENAF GÜLBAY

12/12/2013 12:55:43 PM

Turkey know his job/responsibility please do not make commend nonsense you just look your job, your country

GT Baden

12/12/2013 10:40:52 AM

Baris : You may not be relieved, if those who commit crimes are not punished 'enough' but 20 years ago Turkey didn't differ from PKK. Haven't you heard about more than 17K dead by 'unknown' assailants, 3 million displaced Kurds, evacuated 3K villages ?

Baris

12/12/2013 1:11:43 AM

GT Baden, I have a right to call any organisation which: sends in suicide bombers to cities and blows up civilians; executes teachers, bakers, forestry workers, prosecutors, policemen and their wives; raids villages and kills babies; burns schools, buses and businesses; collects ransom from people. PKK committed nothing but acts like those from the time of its creation to the present day. I have a right to call PKK a terrorist organisation, and I believe Brian has that right too.

K M

12/11/2013 7:51:51 PM

@daniel karr: perhaps because Brian, unlike you, reads news from other than offical sources?
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