Pro-Assad spies within rebels responsible for Turkish border attacks, rebel commander claims

Pro-Assad spies within rebels responsible for Turkish border attacks, rebel commander claims

IDLIB – Anadolu Agency
Pro-Assad spies within rebels responsible for Turkish border attacks, rebel commander claims

Free Syrian Army fighters run with their weapons during clashes with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad around the Handarat area, Oct. 16, 2014. REUTERS Photo

A pro-Assad gang of spies that infiltrated Syrian rebel group Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been identified, according to an FSA commander, who said the network was responsible for two car bomb attacks on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The organization, allegedly linked with Syrian government forces led by President Bashar al-Assad, has carried out a series of attacks on civilians in the name of the FSA, Abu Muhammad, commander of Abu’z-Zuhur Revolutionaries Front operating within the FSA, told Anadolu Agency on Nov. 3.

Abu Muhammad said a member of the secret gang, who is reported with the code name “Ekrem,” has confessed all of the crimes the gang members have committed, which include two car bomb attacks at the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam crossings on the Turkish-Syrian border.

“Ekrem has admitted to bombing the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam gates on the Turkish-Syrian border, along with committing a number of crimes, including conducting car bomb attacks at Seraqip for the al-Assad regime, facilitating bombing FSA posts by enabling the location of rebels through chips embedded in the posts, hijacking and raping under the name of the FSA and calling innocent people ‘Shabiba’ [militia forces of the regime] and seizing their goods,” Abu Muhammad said.

A car bomb attack at the Cilvegözü border gate in the Turkish southern province of Hatay, across from the Syrian gate of Bab al-Hawa, had killed 14 people on Feb. 11, 2013.

No one had claimed the responsibility for the attack, but Turkish authorities blamed Damascus for the incident, detaining five people with alleged links to the Syrian army on suspicions that they planted the bomb.

A year after, on Feb. 20, another car bomb tore through a Syrian refugee camp at a border post on the frontier with Turkey, at the Bab al-Salam gate, across from the Öncüpınar border gate across from Turkey.

Authorities later learned the real target of the attack at the refugee camp near the crossing hosting 30,000 Syrians was Turkey.

Anadolu Agency reported a written transcription of the codenamed alleged member’s deposition, confessing to taking part in both attacks.

The member explains the details of the bomb attacks on the border gates, elaborating how many people were involved in bringing the cars to the crossings and how they handled the operations, according to the deposition records.

Abu Muhammad said they also have knowledge about the presence of other similar networks operating within FSA fronts. “We have a list of 25 gang members’ names and we have distributed this list to the revolutionaries in the region,” he said.