Reports claim Al Nusrah Front members in Turkey were planning sarin gas attacks

On May 30, the Turkish media reported that 12 individuals from the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusrah Front had been captured in antiterror operations in Adana, along with a total of two kilos (4,5 lb) of sarin gas. Five of the 12 suspects were later released; the interrogation of the other seven is ongoing.

The antiterrorism operations were prompted after the attacks on May 11, during which twin car bomb explosions killed over 50 people and injured hundreds of Turkish citizens in Reyhanli, a city near the Syrian border where many Syrian refugees have sought refuge. The Reyhanli attack was the largest terrorist attack in Turkey since the 2003 al Qaeda attacks in Istanbul.

While Adana mayor Hüseyin Avni Cos denied that the suspects were captured with sarin gas and warned against labeling them as part of any terror organization, the Turkish mainstream dailies Sabah and Milliyet are reporting today that the suspects were in fact members of the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusrah Front and were captured with sarin gas. Sabah reports that they were planning attacks on the Incirlik Air Base in Adana and in Gaziantep, a city near Turkey’s border with Syria. Turkish security units have also allegedly received intelligence that three bomb-laden vehicles have entered Turkey from Syria and are planning attacks even larger than the previous one in Reyhanli, and authorities are now on high alert.

According to another daily, Radikal, however, the suspects said that they planned to take the materials back to the conflict areas in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has asked Ankara for detailed information about the allegations of seizure of chemicals during the operations.

Sarin is considered a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations. Both the Syrian regime and the rebels have accused the other party of using chemical weapons.

If it is true that the al Qaeda operatives were planning an attack against the Incirlik Base in Adana, this would not be the first time. Al Qaeda has plotted attacks against many US targets in the past, including the İncirlik Base in Adana in 2003; a foiled attack on the NATO summit in Istanbul in May 2004 which was to be attended by then-President George W. Bush; and an attack on the US Consulate in Istanbul in July 2008, which killed three policemen. In July 2011, an attack on the US Embassy in Ankara was thwarted just before then-Secretary of State Clinton’s visit. As recently as April 2013, Turkish police found evidence of a new al Qaeda plot to bomb the US Embassy in Ankara.

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  • mike merlo says:

    as usual anything that has anything to do with this part of the world when trying to figure out whats going on or who is on what side is beyond Byzantine. Nonetheless interesting event

  • Tony says:

    Alarming if true, but it’s impossible to know who’s planning what against whom anymore. Sarin would not be easy for an insurgent group to manufacture. If al Nusra has some, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who gave it to them.

  • Viv says:

    Tayyip Erodgan deserves this. While he is despised by his own public, he wanted to dislodge a neighboring regime. The price to pay for this unwanted meddling will be quite high. He has gullibly invited the Al Nusra and the Jihadis to his doorstep….The jihadis have a very large apetite. Their ambitions are Regional and not country specific…

  • Eric says:

    As we go into the delivery method and the intended target we start to find the answers we will need: Where is the source and who owns the decision to give Sarin to AQ. Everyone is hoping it was from Assad’s arsenal without his prior consent. It could just as well be the FSB or the IRGC reached out as anonymous dealers in good faith. AQ would accept such an offer and seek to do the most harm the soonest with it. Which makes them look like they just crossed the Rubicon, and its time to crush them.
    Don’t tell me- that makes Russia and Iran an easier job of protecting Assad in Syria, right? And they were discovered and intercepted. I wonder if the leads we followwed come from the same people.
    Conspiracy theories are for crackpots, but if all the pieces fit, you do look twice.
    This will be one hell of an investigation.
    Whoever we confront with the bad news – rest assured we are looking squarely at declarations of war over state sponsors of giving chemical weapons to deranged cavemen. Hot potato. Everyone is already denying they were even around these bomber clowns.
    Message to any AQ who monitor this board: If you pulled this off we would have found the first international consensus to exterminate you. That is the price of your test of wills gambit with the West. So understand this: Free will and the scientific method impose values in the west that do not allow us to accept failure and defeat as long as a way forward is understood. When we are convinced that a disease threatens our existence we heal or cure or remove it. Sometimes the nature of the disease is too resistive to treatment and we pursue our only remaining option: kill it.
    I believe we fought to get to where we are now, and setting things back eight centuries is not going to happen over threats. Stand by, whoever cooked this up. We will seek a standup fight.

  • Arjuna says:

    @Eric Thanks for the insightful and properly indignant comment which echoes my own feelings. We are in a fight to the death. That much is clear to me. I liked the objectivity and interdisciplinary thinking in your comment on “Obama Draws Back” as well.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    “Conspiracy theories are for crackpots”
    I would tend to agree, although things in this world are not as black and white as that. There are many shades of grey when it comes to what is factually objective truth, and what is not.
    Making such a broad statement like you did attempts to brush aside the point that not everything is as it appears, not everything is what we hope for it to be and not everything is as we are told.

  • Chris says:

    Nusrah planning to assault Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey is treason against the Syrian Revolution and people. Reports have come out showing that Turkish and American support for the Syrian Revolution is coordinated in part out of Incirlik. I wonder how FSA fighters supplied, equipped, and possibly trained by instructors at Incirlik who are dying by the thousands in Qusair feel about Nusrah wanting to murder their friends in the name of their false jihad. Time for a “vigorous” housecleaning after the revolution is over,no?

  • David Powell says:

    It seems the rebels are backed by Al Quaeda which regularly kills Americans, and the Gov’t Is backed by Hamas and Hezbollah. The US has no dog in the fight as I see it. They all want to kill us.


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