Thursday Dec 22, 201106:55 PM GMT
Turkey leads anti-Syria smear campaign
Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:34PM
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Turkey's smear campaign against the Syrian government is much worse than the propaganda spread by Arab media to tarnish the image of Damascus with regards to its recent unrest.


While Syrian officials and residents of crisis-hit Syrian regions have repeatedly said that armed groups are responsible for the deadly clashes in the country, Turkey has tried to portray Iran and the Lebanese Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, as being behind the unrest in Syria and that they help Damascus quell protests.

The Turkish NTV news channel recently claimed that the Syrian soldiers who refused to open fire on protesters were shot dead by their commanders.

The broadcaster reported that a Syrian soldier taking refuge in the country says that he and his comrades were trying to avoid hurting protesters by firing warning shots, but those who refused to open fire on protesters were shot dead.

"I've seen Iranians and Hezbollah operators giving instructions to shoot, and those who refused were immediately shot dead," the alleged fugitive Syrian soldier told NTV, adding that the soldiers were mostly shot from behind or in the neck.

The Turkish broadcaster has also claimed that Syrian forces have opened fire on unarmed civilians in al-Rastan.

"We opened fire on everyone, the young, the old... Women were raped in front of their husbands and children," the army defector told NTV.

Political analysts in Middle East affairs have accused Ankara of playing a double game -- claiming to support the Damascus government in order to have greater influence in the Middle East, while at the same time supporting and providing a safe haven for armed gangs seeking to incite revolt in Syria.

Iranian analyst Hadi Mohammadi says that the United States has now formed operational headquarters in southern Turkey close to the border with Syria to direct the riots in the Arab country after its attempts to cause unrest in southern Syria were unsuccessful.

Mohammadi said that the United States has assigned Turkey to carry out its anti-Syria plan. It has hence provided aid to the Turkish Army to assist Syrian dissidents in crossing into Turkey and settle in tent villages set up in Turkey's Hatay Province.

Meanwhile, a mass grave with bodies of at least 10 Syrian security forces was discovered near the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour on Monday.

Syria's state TV says the victims were killed by armed gangs and the bodies bore marks of torture.

Heavy clashes were reported as troops and tanks moved into the city on Sunday and gunmen targeted civilian areas including a hospital.

The government says it entered the town to restore order after some 120 security forces were killed there about a week ago. People in Jisr al-Shughour gathered to thank government troops for protecting them against the gunmen.

HM/HGH/MMN
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