• US Ally Has ‘Undeniable’ Links To ISIS, Which It’s Now Bombing

    Documents taken from an Islamic State leader reportedly show extensive ties between Islamic State and Turkey — which began bombing the jihadi group last week.

    According to the Guardian, an unnamed Western official said the connections are “undeniable.” For years, countries criticized Turkey’s non-enforcement of its 500-mile border with Syria, which became a key route for ISIS and other terrorist groups’ smuggling of fighters. (RELATED: How ISIS Provoked A Quiet Giant Into Striking Back)

    The files were obtained after a May raid on the compound of an Islamic State operative known as “Abu Sayyaf,” in which the commander was killed. Abu Sayyaf was responsible for the group’s oil-smuggling operations, which rely on the cross-border supply route and provide a significant portion of Islamic State’s profits.

    While Turkey never openly backed Islamic State, it supported other Islamist groups in Syria in hopes of toppling that country’s president, Bashar Assad. But its toleration of the group’s activities has passively allowed its pseudo-state to flourish on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

    The new revelations apparently suggest a history of much more active and direct collaboration between Islamic State and Turkish intelligence officials.

    Last weekend’s sudden Turkish crackdown on ISIS coincided with a bombing campaign against Kurdish groups, which Turkey’s government sees as a security threat for their aspirations for independence from Turkey. The Kurds, however, have also been among the most effective militias in combating the jihadis.

    So far, more of Turkey’s air raids have struck Kurdish targets than struck ISIS. (RELATED: Turkey’s ISIS War Is About Much More Than ISIS)

    Meanwhile, American officials have downplayed initial claims that the U.S. and Turkey hope to establish an “ISIS-free zone” or “safe zone” in northern Syria through cooperating on airstrikes. Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that “there really is no ‘zone,’ and there is no plan to keep the area ‘safe.’”

    The messaging reversal is just the latest in a week’s worth of contradictions between Turkey and the U.S.’ official statements on Syria policy.

    Follow Ivan Plis on Twitter

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