Smoking Gun: Wiretaps reveal Turkey's attacks on Syrian regime positions

Media reports based on eyewitness and opposition sources
saying that Turkey has become a party to the civil war in Syria have
found their way into court proceedings. During the trial of the Islamic
State (IS) militants who attacked Turkish security forces at Nigde last
year, court files revealed that Turkey, beyond supplying opposition
forces with weapons and ammunition, had also given artillery support to
the opposition groups that captured Kassab. The prosecutor obtained
striking admissions by tapping the defendants’ phones. According to
documents obtained by Ahmet Sik of Cumhuriyet, the wiretapping
transcripts reveal that the opposition forces at Kassab inform people in
Turkey of the coordinates of Syrian army positions around Kassab, and
then www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/213011/Cihatcilara_TSK_d.





Summaryhttp://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/turkey-syria-weapons-civil-war-kessab-armenian.html#
Court documents reveal that last year, when the Syrian opposition
captured the Armenian town of Kassab, the Turkish army shelled the
Syrian army.

Author www.al-monitor.com/contents/authors/fehim-tastekin.html Posted February 18, 2015
TranslatorTimur Göksel





On March 21, armed Syrian opposition groups
entered Turkey from five different crossings and re-entered Syria at the
Yayladag border crossing and www.radikal.com.tr/yazarlar/fehim_tastekin/keseb_surgunu_30-.

In addition to armed Turkmen groups, al-Qaeda’s Syrian
affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic Front’s most prominent group
Ahrar al-Sham, IS-affiliated Shukur el-Izz, Sham el Islam (established
by former Guantanamo prisoner Moroccan Ibrahim Binshekrun) and Ansar
al-Islam, which has links both to al-Qaeda and IS, took part in the www.radikal.com.tr/yazarlar/fehim_tastekin/ermeniye_tehcir_a.
As clashes continued around Kassab on March 23, a Syrian warplane was
shot down by a missile fired from Turkey for violating Turkish airspace.
In June 2014, when President Bashar al-Assad’s army recaptured Kassab,
including the high ground known as Feature 45, the Turkish army fired on
the Syrian side. The Turkish government and military persistently said
all firing on Syria after the changed rules of engagement following the
shooting down of the Turkish jet were in retaliation for border
violations on the Turkish side. The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected
the accusation, saying, “All claims that Turkey has been supporting the
opposition forces by allowing them to use Turkish territory or in any
other way are www.mfa.gov.tr/no_-96_-26-mart-2014_-lazkiye_kesep-bolgesind.”

Wiretaps tell another story



The information collected from the Nigde assailants’ tapped
phones contradicted official statements. According to the recordings,
Adil Orli, the commander of the Bayir Bucak Turkmen Front, sends the
coordinates through his brother Ayhan Orli to Mehmet Toktas, the
president of the Yayladag Youth Association. In a conversation on June
7, Ayhan Orli reports that he had sent via WhatsApp the coordinates of
seven targets he had received from Adil Orli. He says, “Firing was
useful. Our friends solved the rest of the problems. But there are still
seven locations. If you fire once on each, that will be enough.”

Toktas answers, “Seven locations OK. Tell everyone to stay on defense in the coming moments.”



The two also talk of military assistance. Orli complains of
a shortage of ammunition. Toktas says, “Let me talk to Ankara once more
to see what is happening. Without ammunition, nothing can be done.”

In a conversation on June 14, someone called Yasar Benli
asks Ayhan Orli to arrange for the shelling of the Syrian regime’s units
deployed around the cell towers on Feature 45. A short time later,
Ayhan Orli tells Toktas, ”There are many soldiers on Syriatel Hill. It
will be good if you can hit them.” He gives a description of the target.

On June 13, a Turkmen from the front line asks Ayhan Orli
to help some surrounded fighters cross into Turkey. Orli calls
sub-governor of Yayladag, Turan Yilmaz.

Orli: There are 20-30 men at Arfal. Can you help them cross the border?



Yilmaz: You mean now, 20-30 people? Where are they now?



Orli: At Arfal.



Yilmaz: Will they cross from near 45?



Orli: Yes, from 45.



Yilmaz: Done.



After the court documents became public, Turan Yilmaz said, “We acted according to directives.”



Main opposition Republican People's Party deputy Umut Oran
brought the issue of the Turkish army’s artillery support to the
parliament and asked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, "Why did the www.umutoran.com/2015/02/13/tsk-oso-icin-sinir-disina-topcu- on an area in Syria for no apparent reason? Doesn’t this put Turkey in a position it can’t explain and rectify?”

Weapons did not go to Turkmens, but to Ansar



The court documents contain remarks that reinforce
suspicions about Turkey’s help to radical groups in the form of arms
shipments. In a conversation between Ayhan Orli and President of the
Syrian Turks Association Ahmet Sirin (alias Ahmad Ohrin), they say
weapons sent from Turkey have actually gone to www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/213863/_TIR_daki_sir_ayd.

Ansar al-Islam generally operates jointly with Jabhat
al-Nusra. When Orli says they have run out of ammunition, Sirin asks,
“What happened to those weapons that have gone to Ansar?” Orli replies,
“I don’t know. You have to ask those who delivered the weapons to
Ansar."

In another conversation on June 14, when Orli was saying
that the situation at Kassab was not going well, Bayir Bucak Brigade
Cmdr. Col. Ahmed Arnavut (alias Aziz Kikhia) asks, “Where are those guys
who received the www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/turkey-trucks-att? Orli says, "They are not around."

The same day, Orli complains of an ammunition shortage to
Samir Hafez, the general coordinator of the Syrian Turkmen Groups. Hafez
says, “We haven’t received anything for a year. You think it will come
now?” Orli retorts, "You mean, we are up for sale?”

The issue of weapons assistance to Turkmens found its way to the national agenda when www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/01/vanished-turkish-.
According to the deposition of one driver, the trucks, which belong to
Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), were to enter Syria
through the Cilvegozu border crossing. Bab al-Hawa, opposite Turkey’s
Cilvegozu gate, is controlled by the Islamic Front and Jabhat al-Nusra.
But the Turkish government insists the assistance was going to Turkmens.

Topalca: A Turkmen laden with secrets



Al-Monitor had access to information about arms shipments
in the documents about the Nigde incident. Defendant Mehmet Askar
explains that weapons are illegally shipped to Syria on behest of MIT.
Askar says that together with Syrian Turkmen Heysem Topalca, said to be
working for MIT, he was caught by Turkish soldiers while moving weapons
to Syria, but after a few phone calls they were let go and delivered the
weapons. Topalca, who was also detained in connection with www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/25069404.asp, was then released.

Topalca is among those accused of arranging the escape of
the Nigde assailants to Syria. Topalca’s name is also in the
investigation file of the May 11, 2013, twin car-bomb attack in Reyhanli
that killed 52 people. In the indictment that referred to a June 9
report by the Gendarmie General Command, it is stated that Topalca was
caught with warheads, that he smuggles historical artifacts from Syria
to sell in Turkey, that he is a regular supplier of www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/turkey-syria-inte
and Jabhat al-Nusra and that he had provided the vehicles that exploded
at Reyhanli. The prosecutor, citing other evidence, charged Topalca
with being the one who organized the Reyhanli car bomb attack and that
he has links to the Jund al-Sham organization.

Topalca and the Orli brothers have practically become the
black box of secret schemes with Syrian Turkmens. But that is not all.
Turkey’s connections with the Turkmens, who are fighting the Syrian
regime under the Yavuz Sultan Selim Brigade, the Faith Sultan Mehmet
Brigade, the Sultan Abdulhamid Brigade, the Omer Muhtar Brigade and
Ricalullah are frequently reported on. The last report read that the
Osman Gazi, Omer Bin Abdulaziz and Omer Muhtar units, which have been
fighting in the rural Latakia region, have united to form the Sultan
Abdulhamid Khan Brigade. There was even a www.kanalahaber.com/haber/dunya/suriyeli-turkmenler-abdulham made of the ceremony.

As the Syrian army increases its pressure in the Latakia
area, the number of Turkmens calling for more help from Turkey will
continue to increase.source: www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/turkey-syria-weap