While Turkey held Kurdish fighters responsible for the bloody bombing that targeted a military convoy in Ankara killing 28 on Wednesday and another bomb attack in the city of Diyarbakir that took place yesterday, the Turkish army yesterday intensified its bombing of Kurdish targets near the border with Syria. It also allowed hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters from the governorates of Idlib and Hama to move towards Azaz, Syria via Turkish land. This came days after Turkey said that it considers Azaz a red line that Kurdish forces are not allowed to overstep.
Admitting Syrian opposition fighters to Azaz aims to support the factions fighting Syrian Democratic Forces (which are predominantly Kurdish) after it seized several areas in the northern Aleppo countryside, especially Tell Rifaat which is the most prominent opposition stronghold in the region. Azaz has now become a battleground between Syrian opposition forces and Kurdish forces supported by Assad’s regime.
A commander in the Levant Front, the rebel group that runs the border crossing of Bab Al-Salama, told Reuters that “We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment, mortars and missiles and our tanks”.
According to the Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman, “the fighters entered Turkish territory through the Atma crossing in Idlib, returned and entered the northern Aleppo countryside through the Bab Al-Salama crossing and thereby avoided crossing areas controlled by Kurdish forces or the Syrian regime”.
Meanwhile, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz telephoned the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and expressed his sincere sympathy and condolences over the victims of the terrorist attack in the Turkish capital on Wednesday. King Salman also expressed the Kingdom’s extreme disapproval and condemnation of these terrorist acts and prayed that God grant the victims mercy and forgiveness. He also wished the injured a speedy recovery and the Turkish President stated his gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his noble and fraternal condolences.
The Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz who is also First Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior also expressed his sympathy and condolences over the victims of the terrorist bombings in a message that he sent to President Erdogan. Likewise, the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz who is also the Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence sent a message to the Turkish President containing his sympathy and condolences over the victims of the bombing.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said yesterday that the mission of Saudi forces in the event that they are sent to Syria will be the elimination of ISIS as part of the international coalition led by the United States, and that the alliance must decide whether to expand the mission against the Syrian regime.