As delegations – including one from Turkey – gather in Astana to discuss a peace settlement of Syria’s ongoing conflict, comes bitter news which may in part explain Turkey’s change of positions in seeking a peaceful settlement of the Syrian war.
The normally reliable Turkish Dogan news agency is apparently reporting that one of the ISIS activists responsible for burning alive two Turkish soldiers captured by ISIS near the strategic Syrian town of Al-Bab is a known ISIS militant who had twice been arrested by the Turkish authorities in Turkey -m 2012 and 2015 – and who was then twice released by them.
The Al-Masdar news agency, referring to the Dogan report, is showing a photograph of the ISIS militant in question -Hasan Aydin – under arrest in Turkey
Another photograph appears to show the same man standing alongside the two Turkish soldiers held in an iron cage just before they are burnt.
If this is indeed the same man then it highlights the folly of Turkey’s long and disastrous involvement in the Syrian war.
Despite President Erdogan’s denials, there is little doubt that Turkey actively assisted ISIS – for example by colluding in its illegal oil trade – until about a year ago. By doing so it helped to create a monster, which is now exacting its vengeance on Turkey. The involvement of an ISIS militant who had apparently previously benefited from the protection of the Turkish authorities in the barbaric murder of Turkish soldiers is simply one example of this.
There are now reports that the Turkish government has quietly agreed to allow the Syrian army to take possession of the strategic town of Al-Bab from ISIS, rather than insisting that Al-Bab be captured by Turkish troops. Whilst there is no definite confirmation of this, reports of another Turkish defeat by ISIS near Al-Bab may account for this.