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Turkey Rejects UN Claims of Allies’ Excesses in Syria

Turkey has denied charges leveled by United Nations investigators who say that Syrian rebels backed by Ankara carried out possible war crimes this year. The investigators wrote that the rebels, who have been fighting against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, kidnapped and tortured people, and looted private property, adding that Turkey should exert more control over them. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Friday in response: “We categorically reject the baseless allegations of human rights violations claimed against the Syrian opposition… and concerning our country in relation to them.” Yet Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, pushed back, saying: “I urge Turkey to immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into the incidents we have verified.” Turkey has long supported anti-Assad rebels fighting in Syria’s almost decade-long civil war, and last year introduced troops of its own into a northern corridor to distance Kurdish anti-Assad rebels from the border, accusing them of providing direct assistance to Kurdish separatists inside Turkey.