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During his visit to the recent UN General Assembly in New York, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for the creation of a “national army” of so-called moderate rebel fighters.
According to Erdogan, this new entity would maintain security in a no-fly zone in Syria. Ankara has insisted on a no-fly zone in Syria for over a year. However, all proposals have been rejected by the international community.
The president added that there were some 65,000 fighters that could be involved in the initiative.
Political observer Mehmet Ali Guller commented to Sputnik on Erdogan’s proposal, saying that a “national army” made of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters could be used as an “umbrella” for terrorist groups in Syria.
“Syria has its own armed forces. So the initiative to create a second ‘national army’ would mean an attempt to divide the country. This assumption contradicts with previous Ankara’s statement that the Euphrates Shield military operation is aimed at preserving Syria’s territorial integrity,” he pointed out.
“The Turkish government is playing a double game in Syria. On the one hand, the idea of a ‘national army’ could be connected with Ankara’s attempt to prevent a Kurdish corridor. On the other hand, it looks like part of Turkey’s strategy to topple [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and take control over part of the Syrian territory by uniting anti-Assad terrorist forces. The Euphrates Shield operation combines these two goals,” he suggested.