Turkey holds 10 suspected of arming Syria Islamist rebels

By REUTERS
April 16, 2013 17:27

ISTANBUL- 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 Syrian President Bashar 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.


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