Turkey is training Islamic State terrorists in a camp disguised as a training ground for the Free Syrian Army, a 20-year-old jihadist captured by the Kurdish YPG told Sputnik. The prisoner said Ankara’s help to the “moderate” Syrian opposition is not as innocent as portrayed.
Captured by the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters in Northern Syria in November, Abdurrahman Abdulhadi, a Syrian national-turned Daesh (Islamic State) fighter, says he was trained in Turkey before receiving his first assignment with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
The YPG maintains external security in the three Democratic Union Party (PYD) run areas, and is fighting Islamist groups, primarily Jabhat al-Nusra and IS. The PYD, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey, has effectively been ruling parts of Syria after government troops were forced to withdraw from the areas in 2012. With special permission from the local Kurdish authorities, Russian journalists received first-hand testimony that Turkey is “a friend” of Islamic State.
“They only appear to be enemies, however, they are friends,” the 20-year-old Abdulhadi, whose brother, Til Berak, is still fighting for IS told Sputnik Turkey. While Turkish nationals constitute only about “10 percent” of jihadists he had come across, the prisoner said Turkey is actively training Islamic State fighters.
“In August 2014, I was training in the Turkish town of Adana with one of ISIL’s Emirs,” Abdulhadi said, adding his month-long training was completed with 60 other fighters in a camp “not far from the airport.”
The captured IS soldier said military training was conducted by two officers and one of them only “spoke Turkish, so another one had to translate for him.”
“Once a week we had shooting classes where we were taught to use Kalashnikovs, machine guns and other arms,” the 20 year-old said. “We were trained in Turkey because ISIL’s command thought it was safer here than in Syria because of the bombardments there.”
While the camp was officially declared to be one of the training grounds for the Free Syrian Army, the YPG prisoner says, “all sixty of those who were there were ISIL members.”
“These were Syrian citizens, many of whom arrived in Turkey in search for a job initially, but later joined Daesh,” he explained.
After completing his training, Abdulhadi was tasked with escorting Syrians who wanted to join the jihadists.
“After I finished the training, I went to one of the districts in the Turkish town of Adana. My task was to meet the newly arrived recruits from Syria. After the training we sent them to the Turkish town of Urfa. From there the recruits were transferred via Turkey-Syria border crossing back to Syrian Raqqa. And from there further across Syria,” Abdulhadi explained, saying this was the only assignment he received from his “emir” during the deployment in Syria.
Besides helping to train recruits, the IS prisoner says he was deployed in Syria for brief periods. He was eventually captured in the village of Tal Afer on November 1.
The prisoner also revealed that IS is now receiving ammunition in trucks disguised as non-military cargo. He said that such low-level fighters as him have no idea where the arms come from.
“Weapons were brought to us in civilian cars, not in military ones because fighter jets might have bombed them. ISIL is now mostly using civilian vehicles. I’ve heard they put vegetables on top of boxes with ammunition, so that war planes do not spot them.”