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WASHINGTON – While Turkey sponsors Syrian opposition forces fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, there are indications that Damascus could respond by arming Turkish Kurd insurgents to create internal disorder aimed at toppling the Ankara government, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Sources close to the Syrians say that the Syrian Kurds inform them that Damascus has warned Ankara against interfering in Syria, particularly in its northeastern province of Idlib where some two million Syrian Kurds reside.
“Damascus has warned Ankara that its continued interfering policies on Syria will force Damascus to arm Turkey’s Kurdish opposition and supply them with heavy and light weapons,” according to sources close to the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah which backs the al-Assad regime.
These sources add that such weapons, which would be given to the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, could include the Kornet anti-tank guided missile.
Turkey has been a conduit for arms shipments for the Syrian opposition in its effort to topple the al-Assad regime, has allowed its territory to be used as a headquarters by the opposition and repeatedly has threatened to send troops into Syria’s northeast corner to go after Kurdish elements associated with the PKK.
In the past, al-Assad has threatened to unleash his Kurdish minority against Turkey, which fears it could lose a portion of its territory to establish an independent Kurdistan.
Such a carve-out also could include the northern portions of Syria, Iran and Iraq where Turkey has been attempting to work with the autonomous Kurdish government to allow Ankara to send in troops to disrupt PKK bases.
The Syrian government has decided to cede control to the Kurds so that it can focus its military attention on the Sunni opposition forces threatening to topple the Shi’ite Alawite al-Assad regime.
As with northern Iraq, northeast Syria, where Kurds are predominant, also is known to have sizeable oil reserves which Turkey increasingly needs. Ankara has sought agreement with northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish government for oil, as well as for establishing a base from which to gather intelligence against the PKK strongholds before they launch attacks into Turkey.
In the past, Turkey has made its own military incursions into the region but now wants to establish bases. This prospect has upset Iran, which is competing with Turkey for influence in the region.
Iran already has considerable sway with the Iraqi government, which is led by Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Prior to Syria’s problems, it was united with Turkey and Iran in trying to deflect a Kurdish effort to establish an independent Kurdistan.
Since the Syrian civil war and Turkey’s involvement to oust al-Assad, Damascus has decided to let the Kurds create problems for neighboring Turkey.
In recent months, the Kurds increasingly have killed Turkish army personnel in an upsurge of violence inside Turkey that hasn’t been seen since the late 1990s.
For their part, the Kurds also see that the time is right to reassert an effort to establish an independent Kurdistan, given the turmoil in Syria that also could spread into Turkey if Damascus arms the Kurds.
In fact, northern Iraq also has become a haven for providing military training for Kurds to take advantage of what easily could become a security vacuum in a post-al-Assad Syria. The Kurds also see the training useful should Syrian opposition forces attempt to take back the Kurdish-held northeastern portion of Syria.
The reason for this is that the opposition is primarily Arab, but the Kurds are not and don’t want to be ruled by Arabs, especially in their own autonomous region they intend to carve out.
Like Turkey, the United States regards the PKK as a terrorist group
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