Turkey has given its allies, the so-called rebels in Syria, advanced German-made tanks. This was reported by the German morning newspaper Bild on Thursday 22 November. According to Bild, the Turkish military transferred an unknown number of Leopard 2 tanks to the Syrian National Army (SNA), which since 2017 is the name of what can be simplistically called the Turkish-supported part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The FSA has long been described as moderate Syrian rebels by the Western media, but they were rarely either Syrian or moderate, but consisted largely of foreign jihadists with more or fewer ties to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS).
The German newspaper writes that the Turkish-backed jihadists have already deployed the German-made Leopard 2 tanks against the US- and German-backed Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria. This information has been confirmed by Free West’s Syrian sources who added that they have also been deployed to the Syrian Army (SAA).
Bild writes among other things:
“Since 2016, the Turkish army has used Germany’s main Leopard 2 tank in the Syrian war. But: After Bild’s investigations, it turns out that the Turkish government has now also transferred Leopard 2 tanks to Syrian rebels – illegally! ”
It seems that the sentence concludes with the finding that it violates Germany’s laws on arms exports. In the 2005 sale to NATO partner Turkey, no conditions were specified for the use of tanks. However, Turkey was prohibited in an end-user clause from selling or passing on the Leopards to third parties. Something that has now happened.
The astonishing information is also confirmed by Hamsa Birakdar, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed SNA, who stated to the German newspaper that the advanced tanks were now being used by them.
“Turkey provided us with military equipment including tanks,” Birakdar admits.
The spokesman further said:
“We received three heavily armoured vehicles and troop transport vehicles,” which does not specify exactly what they received – probably deliberately so. Birakdar also confirmed that the SNA had been trained on the Leopard 2.
War criminals are given tanks by Nato country
Free West’s Syrian sources say that it is Jaysh al-Islam, named the “25th Division” within the SNA, which is the recipient of at least three armoured vehicles, at least one of which is a Leopard 2A4. The SNA consists of countless groups or “divisions” and according to our sources, Jaysh al-Islam is one of the six strongest.
Jaish al-Islam means “the army of Islam” and is known as Islamist. The group was one of two militarily prominent Islamist groups sponsored by Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the war, then called Liwa al-Islam, but is now under the control of Saudi rival Turkey.
It is suspected to have many IS sympathizers in its ranks, but is not classified as a terrorist organization by any Western powers. It was Jaysh al-Islam who, in late 2015, placed civilians in cages on trucks, which were then driven around as “mobile human shields” to prevent Russian and Syrian air bombings.
Jaysh al-Islam has also used chemical weapons, including in Aleppo on April 7, 2016. They are a known group of war criminals who are now being trained on and given advanced German tanks by a Nato country.
Turkey bought 354 Leopard 2A4 pieces from Germany in 2005, the same model that Sweden leased from Germany from 1994 to 2014. Sweden gave it the name Tank 121 and it was the first Swedish tank with a powerful 120 millimeter barrel. The Netherlands have also played a role in distributing them, because at one time it had owned 445 such tanks before the Dutch army had decided to make them redundant after 2000, selling them off to a host of other countries, including Turkey, Greece, Chile, Finland, Poland, Austria, Spain, Canada, Singapore, Norway, Denmark and Portugal.
Turkey received delivery of the tanks from 2006 to 2011. During the fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in late 2016 and early 2017 around the city of al-Bab, located between Aleppo and Manbij in northern Syria, Turkey lost ten of these. Many experts who previously considered the Leopard 2 the world’s best tank were surprised.
One of the main reasons for the losses was that version 2A4 is built for battle between armour and therefore only had thick armor, but weak on the sides and back, something the IS terrorists took advantage of. Later versions of the 2A5, which have been slightly modified, have better protection around and against road bombs (IEDs).
Intelligence sources concerned
Free West intelligence sources are concerned about the trend that sovereign states provide advanced heavy weapons and combat vehicles to jihadists. This has happened before in Syria, but then the most powerful weapons had been advanced anti-armour robots. These were conveyed in the context of the US intelligence service CIA’s secret program Timber Sycamore, which was secretly authorized by US President Barack Obama in 2013 but stopped by the current President Donald Trump in 2017. Nya Tider was the first news outlet to report on this in Sweden.
Now, the Nato country Turkey has transferred heavy tanks, the main weapon in the armoured and mechanized divisions of standing armies, to jihadists, which is something entirely new.
Our intelligence sources remind us that the Leopard 2 is the main tank of twelve European countries’ militaries. In addition, it is a figure that will rise in the coming years. Many of these tanks, as in Sweden, are mothballed, more or less guarded and in some cases unattended.
Today, thousands of battle-hardened and jihadists trained on the many different weapons from the war in Syria, among others, have made their way to Europe. Together with a large influx from Muslim countries in recent years, this creates a situation that in the long run can seriously threaten the security of the entire EU.
We already know that terrorists can handle small arms, grenades and build improvised explosive charges. As Henrik Häggström, an analyst at the Swedish National Defense College, told us, one of the explanations for the dramatically increased number of explosions in Sweden is precisely due to immigrant jihadists.
These radical Islamists offer their services to professional criminals, co-operate with the criminal gangs or are themselves part of them. In a few years, therefore, it is a perfectly conceivable scenario that those with light weapons can break into poorly-guarded arsenals of heavier weapons, including the Swedish defense tank 122, which in terms of operation does not differ significantly from the version that the jihadists are now learning to handle.