WASHINGTON – The Saudi-run Al-Arabiya news channel alleges that documents purport to show Syrians murdered two Turkish pilots recently shot down there in an effort to draw Turkey into a full-blown military confrontation, analysts say in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Al-Arabiya said that the two Turkish pilots had been captured by Syrian Air Force intelligence after their American-made F-4 Phantom had been shot down in coordination with the Russian naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus. It further claimed that the order was sent directly from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Brig. Hassan Abdel Rahman, chief of Syria’s Special Operations Unit.
The documents, which have not been authenticated by independent sources, were displayed on the news channel. They allege that the prisoners were interrogated about Turkey’s role in supporting the Syrian opposition forces of the Free Syrian Army.
The documents suggest the possibility of transferring Capt. Gokhan Ertan and Lt. Hasan Huseyin Aksoy into the custody of Syrian ally and Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. However, a subsequent document purportedly called to “eliminate” the two pilots.
“Based on information and guidance from the Russian leadership,” Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya news channel said, “comes a need to eliminate the two Turkish pilots detained by the Special Operations Unit in a natural way, and their bodies need to be returned to the crash site in international waters.”
The documents reportedly were made available to the news channel with the help of members of the Syrian opposition. However, the opposition members refused to divulge how they obtained the documents.
Turkish officials, who have not commented on this latest revelation, previously had said the pilots’ bodies were recovered from very deep water in the Mediterranean Sea. They were still strapped in their seats and had not ejected from the aircraft.
Regional sources say, however, that Saudi Arabia wants Sunni ally Turkey to engage militarily against the Syrians in an effort to oust the al-Assad regime, a goal of the Saudis and Qatar. Saudi Arabia and Qatar already are providing financing and military supplies to the opposition through Turkey.
They add that the effort also is designed to damage Russian relations with the other Arab governments, given Moscow’s support for the Syrian government.
Saudi Arabia has been helped by Qatar and Turkey in its efforts to topple the al-Assad regime. It seeks to sever ties with Shi’ite Iran which has made major strides in extending its influence among the Sunni Arab countries that constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council.
WND/G2Bulletin has reported that the Saudis have placed intelligence operatives in Syria, northern Lebanon and Turkey to coordinate opposition efforts to launch attacks inside Syria.
Turkey recently retaliated to what was a Syrian mortar attack just inside Turkey, killing five civilians. The Syrian government apologized for this incident.
Yet, shelling into Turkey has continued, prompting regional sources to suggest that the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition may be continuing the shelling in an effort to draw Turkey into a full-blown fight with Syria.
Various regional sources say, however, that Turkey isn’t about to enter into a full-blown military conflict without the full backing of the United States or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to which Turkey belongs.
In turn, the U.S. and NATO are urging restraint on Turkey’s part. The U.S. in particular hasn’t commented on its ally, Saudi Arabia, to encourage Turkey independently to attack Syria.
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