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Pakistani Taliban set up base in Syria: Report

BBC Urdu reported that the base was set up to assess “needs of jihad” in Syria and at least 12 Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan “experts” have visited the country.

The Pakistani Taliban have set up a base in Syria to assess “the needs of the jihad” and at least 12 of its “experts” in warfare and information technology have visited the strife-torn country, a media report said.

Quoting a “senior Pakistani Taliban operative”, BBC Urdu reported that the base was set up with the assistance of ex-Afghan fighters of Middle Eastern origin who have moved to Syria in recent years.

At least 12 “experts” in warfare and information technology had gone to Syria in the last two months, he said.

Their presence in the country is likely to have a sectarian motive, the BBC report said adding Taliban factions feel that Sunni Muslims, who constitute a majority in Syria, are being oppressed by Syria’s predominantly Shia rulers.

Thousands of people have died in the year-long armed conflict in Syria between loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad’s government and those who want to overthrow it.

Mohammad Amin, a senior Taliban operative and “co-ordinator of the Syrian base”, told the BBC that the cell to monitor “the jihad” in Syria was set up six months ago.

He said that the cell has the approval of militant factions both within and outside of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of militant groups fighting the Pakistani forces.

The cell sends “information and feedback” on the conflict in Syria back to Pakistan, he was quoted as saying.

“They were facilitated by our friends in Syria who have previously been fighting in Afghanistan,” Amin said.

Their job is to “assess the needs of the Jihad in Syria, and to work out joint operations with our Syrian friends“.

“There are dozens of Pakistani hopefuls in line to join the fighting against the Syrian army, but the advice we are getting at the moment is that there’s already enough manpower in Syria”.

Keywords: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Pakistani Taliban, Syria base, Shia-Sunni conflict, Syria civil war, Bashar Assad regime

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