Syrian Turkmens warn of tension in Latakia’s north

Syrian Turkmens warn of tension in Latakia’s north

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Syrian Turkmens warn of tension in Latakia’s north

This photo shows damaged buildings after a battle between the army and rebels.EPA photo

The Syrian province of northern Latakia has recently witnessed clashes between al-Assad armed Nusayri villages and Syrian Turkmen communities, a Syrian Turkmen dissent has said.

“Syrian forces bombed villages in Latakia with missiles last night [July 29],” Ayhan Orli, a representative of the Syrian Turkmen community, which has supported protests against President Bashar al-Assad, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“The situation is very tense in Latakia,” Orli said, warning about the possibility of a new influx of Syrian Turkmens coming into Turkey. There are nearly 35,000 Syrian Turkmens living in northern Latakia. Syrian Turkmens are currently mobilizing Turkmen resistance from offices in Turkey. Alongside the main office in Istanbul, they have set up a branch in Yayladağı, and plan to open two more in Kilis and Lebanon, Orli said in a phone interview. Nearly 4,500 Syrian Turkmens have so far fled into Turkey and sheltered in camps near the Syrian border, he added.

The Syrian Democratic Turkmen Movement is the second group established by Syrian Turkmens in Turkey. Syrian Turkmens have launched two organizations since February 2012, but they are not represented in the Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella body of Syrian opposition.

Although Syrian Turkmen organizations have appealed to be represented in the SNC, they have been rejected, Orli said. The SNC asked them to represent themselves with a stronger structure, he said.
Meanwhile, a Syrian brigadier general, the deputy police chief of Latakia, defected and fled to Turkey overnight along with 11 other Syrian officers, a Turkish official said.