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Turkey slashes salaries for jihadist comrades in Syria

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In a remarkable turn of events, Ankara has cut salaries to all Syrian rebel groups that are tied to the so-called ‘Syrian National Coalition’. The falling out is related to the election of Riad Seif, a Kurdish-backed figure who has become the president of the Syrian National Coalition. The Turkish regime had backed other candidates with Islamist sympathies. Following the result earlier this month, the relations between Turkey and Turkish-backed jihadists in Syria have begun to deteriorate with Ankara reducing pay to its long-standing jihadist allies, citing “bureaucratic reasons”.On August 22, a delegation headed by President Riad Seif met up in Istanbul with representatives of Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Secretary. At the meeting, financial problems of the jihadists, the Riyadh talks and a possible truce under the guarantor ship of Turkey were put on the agenda. Following the talks, payments to Turkish-backed rebel fighters have been cut in half, causing much concern for Islamist commanders in northern Aleppo and Idlib whom have heavily relied upon Turkish tax money to fund their militants.