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Turkey Stops Financing Syrian Dissidents Coalition

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Officials in Ankara have reportedly halted their financial support for Syria’s National Coalition (Syria’s dissidents), an Arab media outlet disclosed.

The Arabic-language Rai al-Youm quoted sources in the National Coalition disclosing that Turkey has not made its monthly payment of $320,000 to the dissidents.

In the meantime, Secretary-General of Syria’s National Coalition Nazir al-Hakim disclosed that the monthly salaries of 15 coalition staffers have decreased.

Turkey last week denounced a US Special Envoy remarks that Ankara supports al-Qaeda in Syria, accusing Washington of backing Kurdish terrorists in the Arab state.

Brett McGurk, the US special envoy for the so-called global coalition against ISIL, reportedly said that Syria’s Idlib was turned into a “safe zone for al-Qaeda terrorists on the Turkish border” and asked “Why and how” the deputy of al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, could get to Idlib.

The high-ranking American official, speaking at Middle East Institute on July 29 said it was not appropriate for its NATO-member ally “to send tens of thousands of weapons and turn their faces to the other side as foreign fighters enter this area.”

McGurk’s speeches at the Washington-based think tank were slammed by Huseyin Muftuoglu, spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, as “provocative”.

“Our reaction to the statements of Brett McGurk, in which he associated Turkey with the presence of terrorist organizations in Idlib was brought to Mr. McGurk’s attention at a high-level démarche and his statements, which could be characterized as provocative, were protested,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said in a written statement on July 30.

“In addition, Mr. McGurk was reminded of both the fact that the root causes enabling terrorist organizations to find foothold in Syria and Iraq could only be eradicated only if the deeds and actions of all relevant actors do not contradict one another, and our expectation that the Syria-based terrorist organization PYD/YPG [Democratic Union Party/People’s Protection Units] is not supported for whatever the reason may be,” Muftuoglu said.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal conveyed Turkey’ unease and asked the US envoy to “correct” his statements if he did not aim any provocation, a Foreign Ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity.

Onal warned the envoy that these kinds of statements could harm the grounds of cooperation between the US and Turkey at a time when the US administration is seeking cooperation with Ankara for the post-ISIL period in Syria, said the official.

The Turkish diplomat told McGurk that the US first had to face the fact that they support a terrorist organization in Syria and present the members of the YPG as heroes before implying Turkey supports terror.

Syria has been gripped by militancy since March 2011, when a section of the opposition in the country took up arms against President Bashar al-Assad. A vast mix of foreign terrorists soon blended with the armed opposition, joining the fight against the Syrian government.