MIT versus the Mukhabarat

The Turkish intelligence agency Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT) has embarked on a PR exercise of sorts after its prestige took a knock when one of its agents participated in kidnapping the founder of the Free Syrian Officers Movement (IOL 659 /653). With perfect timing on March 1, the Turkish daily Sabah credited MIT with bold action in preventing the kidnapping of Riad Al As’ad andMoustapha As Shaikh on The two are leaders of the Free Syrian Army and the attempted kidnapping reportedly took place in a refugee camp in Hatay province. Two Turks, a Syrian and a person holding dual nationality suspected of planning the episode are said to have been arrested.

Despite that feat and the extra protection now being offered to some ASL chiefs by the Turkish authorities, the Syrian movement continues to fear being infiltrated by elements from Syria’sMukhabarat. Apart from kidnappings, the Syrian rebels are even more concerned that arms and equipment supplied to them in recent months by Qatar and Saudi Arabia could be sabotaged.