Is Turkey shifting its policy? Is Assad really winning?
By Manolis Kostidis
The government of Turkey is concerned with rapid developments in Syria as the policy of supporting the rebels against the Assad regime is collapsing.
President Bashar Assad has strengthened and Syria’s neighboring countries are seemingly beginning to fight on his side against the armed extremists.
Just yesterday, Iraqi armed forces deployed 10.000 soldiers to the country’s border with Syria and heavy fighting broke out between them and the armed rebels who have settled in the country and, until recently, could cross the border unobstructed carrying arms to Syria.
Now, the Iraqi army is fighting them and it seems likely that in a matter of days this passage will be cut off.
In the southwest, Assad has gained another powerful ally who officially announced it has joined fighting beside Syria. Hezbollah from Lebanon stated it will remain active in the Syrian civil conflict “until the end of the road”, bringing victory to Syrian President Bashar al – Assad. The announcement was made by the organization’s chief Hasan Nasrallah who said “embattled Syria and neighboring Lebanon face the threat of Sunni Islamists”. “There is no longer a popular revolt against a political regime in Syria. It has rather become a place to for the U.S. and the West to impose their political plans in the wider area” he added.
Under such circumstances, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al – Muallem, visiting Baghdad, announced Syria will participate in the Geneva international conference scheduled for June. “It is a good opportunity to resolve the conflict in the country” he said.
Turkey’s impasse with Syria
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, as early as 2011, had set a goal to overthrow Assad. Ahmet Davutoglou estimated rebels could overthrow Assad within 1 to 2 months, based on secret service intelligence. He had made such statements and predictions several times. However, in light of recent developments and following Erdogan’s meeting with Barack Obama in which it was clear the US didn’t want a deeper involvement in Damascus, Ankara is now extremely alarmed.
The American’s have already called Turkey to cease providing assistance to the Al-Nousra organization in Syria, which the US considers to be an Islamic terrorist group.
Assad, it seems, will not be trapped in the western provinces, and plans the reoccupation of all territories with the help of Hezbollah, Iraq, Russia and Iran. His taking part in the Geneva summit proves his trust in his regime.
Former Turkish ambassador, diplomat Temel Iskit, told Taraf newspaper “I hope Turkey will be distanced from the rebels. Especially with the Al Nousra organization. It must increase security measures with Syria. Judging from Ahmet Davutoglou’s recent statements we see the policy of the Turkish government is starting to be in line with the international community”.
Turkish Professor of International Relations, Veysel Ayhan, says “the rebels want to form a new Syria. Turkey, on the other hand, supported these rebels and formed its policy on the belief it could overthrow Assad. It is now perfectly clear this isn’t possible”.