Tensions are as high as ever on the Turkish Syrian border as Ankara is heavily increasing its troops along its southern frontiers. This week Turkey threatened Syria with an appropriate retaliation after the Syrian forces shot down a Turkish fighter jet. Syria says it has downed the plane after violation of its airspace, Turkey claims otherwise.
The Turkish fighter jet shot down over Syrian waters at low altitude by Syrian forces defending its air space is being used by Turkey to militarize its border.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky in a discussion about the escalating role of Turkey; foreign influence over the opposition in Syria; and the degree of representation of the Free Syrian Army for the people of Syria.
The news analysis also offers the opinions of two additional guests: political commentator, Jihad Mouracadeh and Richard Becker of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview:
Press TV: Professor Michel Chossudovsky, first of all, you heard the comments made by Mr. Mouracadeh. NATO has established a ‘command and control center’ in Iskenderun, Turkey near the Syrian border that is actually training and organizing the so-called Free Syrian army (FSA).
Now, the FSA is not only operating from Turkey, but has been assisted by Ankara by arms and other supplies as well. Is the region set for an inevitable escalation of rhetoric from Turkey and more tension close to the borders of the two neighbors?
Chossudovsky: It certainly implies an escalation of rhetoric, but I think we must be clear as to the nature of this conflict. The [so-called] Free Syrian Army is not representative of Syrian civil society. It is an armed group, which is in large part integrated by foreign fighters; mercenaries recruited and supported by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other NATO powers including the United States of America.
So that in effect at this particular juncture, the war has already started. A covert war has been waged within Syrian territory for the last month.
Turkey supported the incursions right from the beginning, right from the beginning in March of 2011 and this incident turns realities upside down. It points to Syria as the aggressor in relation to the incident of the downed fighter jet, which was in Syrian territorial waters at a very low altitude and it now is using that incident to further militarize that 800 kilometer border on Syria’s northern frontier.
So, in other words, what we have at this juncture talking about the meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Geneva, the so called peace initiative… Who are the parties involved in this so called peace initiative called by the United Nations? They are in fact the belligerent aggressors who are already involved in a military operation inside Syrian territory.
And that also includes, I should mention, Special Forces from a number of countries including Turkey, France, Qatar, which are documented.
Turkey has been supplying weapons to an entity involved in crimes against humanity and the killing of civilians, which is casually blamed on the government.
This has been documented in numerous reports that the killing of civilians is the work of the US/NATO sponsored death squads, which are set loose inside Syria.
Press TV: Mr. Chossudovsky, would you like to respond to Mr. Mouracadeh’s comments about the Free Syrian Army being representative of the people of Syria?
Chossudovsky: I just say that’s a nonsensical statement because it’s the position held by the Western media, which has falsified this conflict right from the beginning. I’ve been following this since day one in March of 2011 and this Free Syrian Army is integrated by Islamists, al-Qaeda, terrorists and it is documented that they are being recruited by Turkey, the military high command and NATO.
And those are Israeli sources, which confirm it. They are recruiting so-called Mujahidin to fight their war; they are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. So this already is an act of aggression. The issue as to the nature of the government in Syria is not an issue. What is at stake is an act of aggression against a sovereign country whether we like that government or not.
That is the background and we are at very dangerous crossroads. This is an evolution towards theatre war, a confrontation- this could ultimately evolve towards regional war, which would extend from the Eastern Mediterranean right through to Central Asia.
I should mention that as far as the initiative in Geneva is concerned Iran has not been invited, but Saudi Arabia, of course they invite Saudi Arabia and the[Persian] Gulf States, which in fact are not the solution, but the cause of this conflict because they are arming the rebels and they are financing the rebels and so on.
Professor Chossudovsky requests to interject and make comment on matters being discussed between Mr. Becker and Mr. Mouracadeh…
Chossudovsky: Excuse me, could I intervene there?
Press TV: Sure go ahead.
Chossudovsky: I just like to set the record straight... I concur with Mr. Becker on his assessment of the situation in Syria, but I should make it clear that this was not a protest movement from day one.
In Mid-March of 2011 foreign fighters entered Syrian territory in the border city of Daraa, which is a small city on the Jordanian border. They were armed terrorists and they started shooting at civilians as well as members of the police and the reports are very, very clear both from Lebanese sources and from Israeli sources that this was an armed insurrection right from the beginning.
Then you have the Muslim Brotherhood in the North, which was supported by Turkey. They’re in opposition within Syrian civil society, but this particular so-called opposition are armed insurgents supported by the Western military alliance. In the same way as the Kosovo Liberation Army was supported by NATO during the 1999 aggression against the Yugoslav Federation…
Press TV: The opposition in Syria has been receiving money, arms and logistical assistance from Saudi Arabia, the US, Qatar, Turkey, Britain and France. How does that affect the independence of any form of opposition when it’s being funded by foreign countries?
Chossudovsky: Well, first of all we have to set the record straight. Unfortunately, the Western media as well as the media of the expatriate Syrian opposition are extremely biased as to what’s going on, but we have a number of reports both Western reports as well as other reports which set the record straight as to who is committing atrocities, particularly with regard to the massacre in Houla. It has been confirmed that these massacres were committed not by government forces, but by the so-called Free Syrian Army.
We have it from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s leading newspapers. We have a Russian report on that; we have eyewitness reports and the strategy has been - it’s a diabolical strategy, it’s for the West to support the terrorists, which go in, kill civilians and then they bring in the media; they take the photo ops and then they blame it on the government of Bashar al-Assad.
And this is now fairly well established; even the BBC has made it mea culpa because it was using trick images. It said, well, we’re sorry; we made a mistake in the reporting.
The Arab League report- the earlier Arab League report - which the Arab League actually refused, the leadership of the Arab League refused the results of the Observer Mission; it acknowledged the atrocities committed by the so called opposition, which is integrated by mercenaries.
That is the background. At the same time ethnic cleansing directed against the Christian community in a very systematic way has taken place…