Mavi Marmara, 2010.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US-led air strikes against the Islamic State in the Syrian city of Idlib have killed a Turkish activist who participated in the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) sponsored Mavi Marmara flotilla, Turkish media reported.
Forty-year old Yakup Bulent Alniak was married and had two children, the Turkish World Bulletin website reported.
IHH was behind the Mavi Marmara flotilla that sought to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. Israel Navy commandos boarded the ship, were attacked, and killed nine of the attackers.
In January, Turkish police arrested at least 23 people as part of raids against al-Qaida targets, including the offices of the IHH in the southern city of Kilis, which borders Syria, and detained one person.
“Recent reports of the Turkish military intercepting an alleged IHH weapons truck on the Syrian border was an indication that the flotilla charity was being targeted,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Jerusalem Post at the time.
“There has long been ample reason to believe the group was tied to Hamas, al-Qaida, and other terror groups in Syria,” he said.
The coalition-led air strikes have failed so far to stop the advance of IS fighters on Syria’s Kurdish town of Kobani near the border with Turkey which the group has sieged from three sides, triggering an exodus of more than 150,000 refugees and sending mortar shells inside Turkish territory.
On Saturday, the US-led coalition bombed Islamic State positions around the town, a move that was welcomed by Asya Abdullah, a senior official in Syria’s dominant Kurdish political party the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“We are ready to establish a dialogue with anyone fighting IS, including opposition forces in Syria, such as the Free Syrian Army,” she told Reuters via phone, from Kobani. “Turkey should arm the PYD... These IS gangs will one day cause great harm to Turkey. Kobani is right at the border, if these gangs enter Kobani nothing will stop them from going to Turkey next.”
About 300-400 Syrian Kurds crossed back into Syria on Sunday from Turkey to help fight against IS, a soldier on the border told Reuters, adding that Turkish authorities were not allowing any Turkish Kurds to go to Kobani.
Several hundred Kurds were waiting at Mursitpinar, on the Turkish side of the border, in the hope of being allowed to fight alongside their people in Syria, a Reuters witness said.
“IS is evil, of course we want to go and fight,” Mustafa Durdu, a Turkish Kurd who has not been permitted to leave Turkey by Turkish authorities.
“Our brothers are there,” he said, pointing to Kobani.