Justin Vela

Southern Turkey a “rear base” for Syrian rebels + other stories…

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In July, I spent several weeks working on a series of stories along the Turkey-Syria border.

Most of these stories were published by The National and described how southern Turkey is being used by the Syrian opposition as a kind of rear base to rest, buy weapons, and treat the wounded.

A fighter from the Free Syrian Army sauntered into the front yard of a run-down home on the Turkey-Syria border where his friends, three families of Syrian refugees, were living. Wearing a black shirt and camouflage trousers, he was on a mission: to wash his laundry.

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For a full list of these articles please see the July section of my “Recent Work” page.

During my time at the border I also met Thwaiba Kanafani, a Canadian-Syrian woman who said she had joined the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA). While Ms. Kanafani continues to pop up in the media, she herself admitted that FSA officers in Turkey had decided to stop working with her under rather shocking circumstances that I detailed in the Globe and Mail.

Her adventure, when it unravelled, unravelled quickly. On Monday, she won a post as a communications co-ordinator on a Free Syrian Army (FSA) committee at a Syrian refugee camp. That lasted barely three days. By midday Thursday, Ms. Kanafani was expelled from the council because of suspicion over her motives. “I left them,” she said. “I am not working with them any more because they say I am an Israeli spy.”

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An FSA flag hanging in a hotel room in Antakya, Turkey in July 2012.

An Syrian rebel flag hanging in a hotel room in Antakya, Turkey in July 2012.



Written by Justin Vela

August 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm

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