Members of the Free Syrian Army attend a weapons training session outside Idlib, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (AP Photo)

Turkey, Saudi-led regional coalition gears up efforts to topple al-Assad

Free Syrian Army fighters

Turkey’s always dynamic, always changing agenda does not permit many of us to follow and cover foreign policy issues in the necessary depth. This is especially the case amid the tense internal political climate on the eve of the June 7 parliamentary elections. One of the top issues concerning Turkish diplomacy, which is least covered by the media, is the Syrian issue – not only because Turkey hosts around 2 million Syrians but also because of the security challenges that it causes in the country.

Recent developments from Syria show that the Bashar al-Assad regime is having difficulty holding strategic points in deserted eastern areas against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and in the northern and western parts against the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other armed groups such as Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra, which have ties to al-Qaeda. Both groups are known to be Salafist and predominantly based around Aleppo and Idlib.

The FSA and these two groups are believed to be composed of a military force of around 50,000 to 60,000 men and are actively fighting against al-Assad’s army, which has been losing important manpower recently. The rebel group seized Idlib in a strategic victory against regime forces, clearing its rule in the northern part of Syria, with similar military achievements in the south as well. Reports suggest that rebels have now engaged in heavy fighting against the Syrian army in the Latakia province in areas close to al-Assad’s ancestral home. This port city is believed to have a strategic importance for the regime and its fall will give a huge blow to al-Assad…

Sorry but I don’t trust either Erdogan or Saudi Arabia. What on earth might be the result of this?  

  • So they’re funding both sides? I need a playbook.

    • Frau Katze

      It’s very confusing.

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Wait a minute. Assad is backed by Iran and Hezbollah, both Shiite entities. Indeed, if it weren’t for Shiites entering through Lebanon, Assad would have been history at least two years ago. So it has come down to a sectarian war with both sides slaughtering each other. Meanwhile, Israel is on alert while staying out of this as much as possible and will jump in if feeling threatened.

    To complicate matters even further, Turkey has a problem with its Kurds, who are feeling their oats after prevailing against the Islamic State and would like to unify their homeland with independence. May the good guys win.

  • john700

    The idea was from the beginning to build a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe. Assad opposed it because of his friends the Russians who would lose the EU market for their gas. Therefore the slaughter in Syria.

  • cmh

    the caliphate is comin’ and everyone wants to run it…

  • Jay Currie

    Excuse me while I root for all sides. Sunni shoots Shite – win! Shite shoots Sunni – win! I like to see the barely Sunni, anti-Safalist Kurds win.

    Islam is tearing itself apart…. BIG WIN!

  • Minicapt

    … Hillary wins the Democrat nomination by acclamation. Dogs and cats play together. The usual.