According to news reaching DEBKA-Net-Weekly from Syria late Thursday, Sept. 6, Free Syrian Army rebels have begun to turn their guns on the approximately 10,000 foreign Islamists who have converged on Syria to fight the Assad regime.. Many are al Qaeda adherents from different countries; some belong to radical Salafi and other Muslim radical groups. The violent FSA purge of these infiltrators into the rebel movement appears to be orchestrated from outside Syria.
Appointing Turkish officers to command two Syrian rebel brigades, as debkafile first revealed exclusively Thursday, Sept. 6, was only Part One of Ankara’s latest master plan for pulling Syria out of its long agony.
CIA Director David Petraeus, on his arrival in Istanbul Monday, Sept. 3, heard a detailed review from Turkish military and intelligence officials. He learned that on the secret orders of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish military and MIT spy agency was getting ready to establish Syria’s first safe haven in the north after the land is seized by the Turkish-commanded, Syrian rebel North Liberators Brigade and the Tawhid Brigade.
The enclave will be cleansed of the presence of government forces and institutions and placed under Turkish air force protection.
When it is finally in place in early October, Syria will be the first country overtaken by an Arab revolt to house a protected safe haven without UN Security Council approval.
A safe haven stretching across northern Syria
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military sources report that Ankara is planning to bring Syrian rebel brigades under Turkey’s wing for carving out additional safe havens.
The master plan starts with the creation of a 50-kilometer safe corridor linking the Killis region in southeast Turkey to rebel-held areas around Aleppo. To this end, the two rebel brigades must seize control of the northern stretches of Syria's M5 national highway – one broadening the route to the east and the other to the west. They must cleanse all the captured land of the presence of any Assad government military, security and intelligence presence.
The two rebel brigades have just gone into action, backed by Turkish tank guns and artillery batteries shooting from the Turkish side of the northern Syrian frontier.
After this mission is accomplished, the central and western regions of northern Syria will become the largest protected safe haven seen in the Middle East since the 2011 war in Libya. Its eastern fringes will touch Syrian Kurdistan; the Syrian-Turkish border will enclose it from the north; while in the east, the safe haven will end on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Controlled by Turkey, backed by the US
This operation is conducted and controlled from the Turkish intelligence-cum-military command headquarters at Gaziantep, in southeast Turkey, with the American CIA leading from behind.
So not only Turkey, but the United States too, has stepped into the Syrian conflict.
It was due to these new developments in the Syrian crisis that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to withdraw the Russian military presence from Syria forthwith. ((See a previous item in this issue.
Now that Washington and Ankara have thrown down the military gauntlet in Syria, we will have to wait and see how the Assad regime, Tehran and Hizballah react.
Tuesday, Sept. 4, Western, Turkish and Israeli intelligence discerned unusual military movements of Syrian and Iranian units in Syria and of Hizballah in Lebanon – possibly preparing to hit back for the unfolding US-backed Turkish master plan for Syria.
To be on the safe side, US Middle East forces, the Turkish army, the Israel Defense Forces and Jordanian units were placed on war alert which is still in force.