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Turkey's Syria game.

Summary: Turkey appears to be playing a game on its border with Syria, but it does not appear to have figured out how to win it, nor what winning it would look like.

Turkey appears to be playing a game on its border with Syria, but it does not appear to have figured out how to win it, nor what winning it would look like.

Despite the Turkish parliament last week authorizing the army to deploy in Syria and Iraq, Turkish tanks have done little but stand back and watch as ISIS crawls further and further into the border town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobani to the Kurds.

Erdogan claims his country is committed to protecting the people of Ain al-Arab, Kurdish or otherwise, but in reality it appears Ankara is manipulating the battle for the border town as part of a geopolitical struggle.

It seems to believe that with its inaction and the inevitable fall of Ain al-Arab, it can kill two birds with one stone. One, that any successes of ISIS further destabilize the Assad regime in Damascus. And two, that its self-proclaimed Kurdish enemy will be weakened.

The fast-paced nature of events on the border render it difficult for Ankara to cover up what it is doing. But its policy is not without its flaws. Does it really want ISIS on its borders?

Its alleged opposition to ISIS now also leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Such as just how thousands of foreign fighters have traveled through Turkey to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS; how ISIS is able to hold such large amounts of money, and how it is able to sell so much oil.

If the anti-ISIS coalition, which now includes some 60 countries, is happy with such an unstable partner on board, will the coalition ever be able to achieve its aims? Some hard questions need to be answered.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Oct 9, 2014
Words:331
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