Syrian Turkey Conflict – Is War Most Likely to Happen?

Aineen Ilmi Husna Nazrei (Malaysia)(UWCAC ’12-’14)

October 3rd marks the beginning of the horrendous conflict between Turkey and Syria that lasts until this moment. It is inaugurated by the death of five members of a family when a shell landed in their yard.  Following the bloodshed in the Turkish border town of Akcakale, Turkish fighter jets have carried out multiple strikes on Syrian targets, including a military camp belonging to President Bashar Assad. Numerous Syrian soldiers were reportedly killed.

The ultimate question right now would be: is there any possibility that a war between the two nations will erupt? Turkish Parliament earlier approved military action in response to Syria’s deadly shelling. Nevertheless, according to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the authorisation is purely for deterrence but he also warned that his country’s determination should not be challenged.

Equally important is the fact that, although NATO and the United States have expressed solidarity with Turkey, a NATO member, they are urging restraint. Western powers, particularly the United States, do not have the desire or political will to intervene militarily in Syria. Without the full backing of NATO and the US, Erdogan would be reluctant to embark on any large-scale military venture against Syria. So we need to put this situation into context, while we have seen a lot of escalation: Neither side has an interest in turning this low-intensity war into something more serious, a full-blown confrontation.

What the incident tells us is that Syria has now descended into all-out war. It tells us that Syria’s neighbours are deeply involved in its internal armed struggle. It also tells us that the civil war has become a proxy war between other regional players such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Syrian conflict has also been internationalized along Cold War lines, with the US and Russia backing rival camps.

 -United Words Team-

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