Airbridge transporting jihadis from Jordan to Turkey

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A handout picture taken on April 2, 2014 and released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on April 3, 2014 allegedly shows a pro-government fighter standing on a tank at an undisclosed location in the north of Syria's Latakia province. (Photo: AFP-HO/SANA)

By: Suhaib Anjarini

Published Friday, April 4, 2014

Turkey is not alone in supporting jihadis in the battles in Latakia's northern countryside. Recent information revealed the existence of an airbridge between Jordan and Turkey, transporting jihadis after they are trained on Jordan soil.

Syria’s southern battlefront front has been moved to the north. Al-Akhbar received information suggesting an active and growing Jordanian role in the fight for Kasab and its surrounding territory. The information referred to an airbridge carrying hundreds of fighters from Marka airport in Amman to Antakya in the Iskenderun province in Turkey.

According to a Syrian opposition source, more than a thousand jihadis were transported in the past three days and they immediately joined the fierce battles in Latakia's northern countryside. The information "was confirmed by accurate Jordanian sources," the Syrian opposition source maintained.

The jihadis belong to various nationalities, including Saudi, Jordanian, and Syrian. "Some of the airlifted jihadis had undergone extensive training in camps in the al-Rasifa region north of Amman," the source added.

According to the source, training and transport are coordinated with the Jordanian intelligence services and with direct US supervision. He explained it could be an alternative plan to opening a southern battlefront from Jordan, which has been speculated about for a long time.

The alternative plan, which could have been the primary plan to begin with, could save Jordan from the repercussions of opening the front from its own territory.

Jihadis trained in Jordan will be joining their counterparts based in Turkey, most of whom are Chechens with prior fighting experience. They will then be organized into groups to enter Syria from the Turkish borders in the form of uninterrupted reinforcements.

This fact could explain the quick and successive changes in the battle scene, which has not yet witnessed an effective and stable control of strategic areas. Authority on the ground is changing around the clock and control has been exchanged several times in various locations, especially the strategic "position 45."

The Syrian army's delay in effectively resolving the situation in the first 24 hours of the battle seems to have led to an open front. This is only added to the jihadis' continuous

attempts to expand the geographical area of confrontations, including entering the towns of al-Badrousieh and Ras al-Basit.

In light of this information, recurring news about reinforcements of jihadis arriving from Idlib seem to be attempts at spreading false information concerning the source and nature of the human reinforcements. This is supported by a jihadi source who told Al-Akhbar that "many jihadi brothers from various nationalities have been mobilized to support our fighters in the battle of Anfal. It was their first blessed battle on Syrian territory."

Concerning movement on the ground, the source maintained that "Qastal Maaf and al-Badrousieh battlefronts are currently the most important ones to protect the gains achieved. The first is the real route to Kasab and the second is the only way to reach al-Samra and Tashalma."

"Jihadis should continue to shell the rear lines with Grad missiles in order to halt the Syrian army’s reinforcements, which are on their way," the jihadi source explained. The jihadi maneuvers seem to be drawn according to actual tactical plans, which primarily aim to gain simultaneous control of strategic peaks and some coastal positions.

On the ground, battles continued in the vicinity of position 45. They led to the killing of the military commander of the Sham al-Islam movement, an Egyptian citizen Ahmed Mazyan, who goes by the alias Abu Safiyyah al-Masry. On Thursday night, fighters continued their attempts to regain control over the strategic position and battles were raging in Jabal al-Nisr, al-Sawda, Bayt al-Shorouk, and al-Khodra.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

It's hard to be a Jordanian politician, as a news story told us a few years ago. It's kind of like that Lebanese policitian, Harb. You can only hold that bent-over pose for so long and then your back gives out and you have to retire.

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