Wed, October 10, 2012

Syria-Turkey border tension unlikely to evolve into war

2012-10-10 10:30:32 GMT2012-10-10 18:30:32(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

DAMASCUS, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The cross-border tension between Syria and Turkey, which has been gaining momentum since last week, is unlikely to amount to a full-fledged war between both countries, in part due to the willingness by both sides of avoiding a wider Middle East conflict, analysts said.

Syria is now facing both fierce fights with opposition rebels and border tension with Turkey, following the Turkish army's bombarded on some targets in Syria in retaliation to the Syrian shelling of a Turkish border town that killed five civilians during clashes between Syrian army and rebels on border towns.

The Turkish government said recently that it would not stand idle before such kinds of "provocations" from the Syrian regime, while the Turkish parliament authorized a mandate to approve cross- border military action into Syria in response to the death of five civilians. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country has no intention to start war in the region, but cautioned Damascus not to test Turkey's "limits and determination."

Syria also responded by saying that the border tension should be handled with "wisdom and prudence."

Still, the border skirmishes have continued for the ensuing six days but with no reports of casualties or injuries.

With those facts in hand, Syrian analysts and political experts expressed conviction that the recent tension between both countries would not evolve into a war due to a brew of international political complications and worries over unleashing a wider Middle East conflict with regional powers in the mix.

Hamdi al-Abdallah, a political expert, said a full-blown war is unlikely mainly because "such a war would have devastating repercussions not only on both countries but on the region as a whole."

"Both countries possess huge military capabilities that would deal great destruction on both of them," he told Xinhua in a phone interview.

Another analyst, George Gabbour, also brushed off the war scenario, pointing out that Turkey has so many inner problems and issues to deal with which would prevent it from waging a war on Syria.

"The recent border tension will not last for long," he told Xinhua.

On his part, Farouq al-Hajji, a political activist, told Xinhua that the "picture is not nice on the borders due to the anticipation, anxiety and caution."

However, he agreed with other analysts that the situation "will not evolve into an open war."

Hajji attributed his belief to the fact that the influential countries, on both Turkey and Syria, will not allow such confrontation to take place because it would end up with no victor but great tragedies.

Another good reason, analysts said, is that the international community has shown no appetite to support a foreign military intervention in Syria, despite some voices here and there that have supported such approach in hopes of unseating Assad.

Prof. Dr. Huseyin Bagci, chairman of Department of International Relations at Middle East Technical University in Turkey, told Xinhua that his country "was moving fast (on its policies regarding Syrian crisis), but has put on the brake as Ankara could not receive support on its arguments."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday that the alliance had "necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary."

Yet, NATO did not have intention to militarily support Turkey, Prof. Bagci said.

The Western powers' reluctance to militarily intervene in Syria is based on Assad's strong regional and international allies that would block any international resolution in that regard and also out of fear for Israel in case a regional war occurred, analysts said.


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