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Kurdish-Syrian rebels promise to fight PKK in return for Turkish military support against Assad regime.

Last modified: 26 Jul 2012 09:04

Holed up in a Turkish safe-house, a Kurdish commander of a Syrian rebel unit makes a novel pitch for more weapons to help his men fight the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"I wish we could get some armed support from Turkey," said Ubed Muse, speaking to the AFP news agency during a break from the bloody battles in which he has led a band of 45 rebels near Aleppo, Syria's second city.

If his fighters could get help from Turkey, he said, they would return the favour by hitting the Kurdish militant group that has long been the arch-nemesis of Ankara, the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK.

"If we - Kurds and Arabs - join ranks, and are able to get military support from Turkey, we can fight not only the regime but also the PKK," said Muse, sitting in the secret flat in Turkey's central Antakya province.

Around him, pictures of fighters killed or wounded in the conflict hang on the walls along with cartoons mocking Assad and a rebel Free Syrian Army slogan that proclaims: "We will never stop till victory".

"We are in need of weapons," Muse said, repeating a common concern of the insurgents, thousands of whom have been based in Turkey.

"With armed support from Turkey, we can hit PKK bases inside Syria because we all know about their whereabouts and which regions they control."

The question of Kurdish ambitions in Syria has been a top concern of late for Turkey, which has long battled the PKK and its campaign for a Kurdistan homeland that would span parts of Turkey, Iraq and Syria.

-- AFP