On 7 August 2011, the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the Syrian issue to be a ‘domestic affair’ for Turkey and that his country could not stay idle in the face of the political crisis in Syria. Almost eight years later, the Syrian crisis has indeed become an issue of Turkish domestic politics, albeit not in the way President Erdogan envisaged. At the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Turkey was seeking to project its power throughout the Middle East, seeing its immediate neighbourhood as Ankara’s hinterland.
Five years of Islamic State (IS) rule across Iraq and Syria have wrecked the shared border between the two countries and created a fragile security situation in the area commonly known as “Syraq”.
After announcing in December that the US will withdraw its troops from Syria, President Donald Trump and the White House back tracked a number of weeks later, declaring the withdrawal may yet take a number of months.
After 8 years of conflict, Syria is a country in ruins.
On January 24, the Syrian-Kurdish forces backed by the US anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition barely repelled a counter-attack carried out by IS militants in the Syrian village of Baghuz Fawqani, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates where the river crosses the Syrian-Iraqi border.
In the summer of 2013, most commentaries on the Syrian civil war’s effect on Iraq’s Sunni population argued that the rise of Syria’s Sunnis against the government in Damascus had emboldened their co-religionists across the border, providing a morale boost to the Iraqi community that feels marginalized by a Shia-dominated Iraqi state, closely allied to Shia Iran. However, what was neglected in these assessments was the “cause and effect” relationship between the Syrian civil war and the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
The Syrian regime's reliance on foreign forces (Russia, Iran and its Shia militia proxies) to turn the tide in its favor since 2015 has cast doubt on its ability to regain long-term sovereignty. Hybridity of security governance includes not only those foreign forces, but also the absorption of pro-government Syrian militias and even former rebel groups which have returned to the fold.
North Korea (DPRK) and Syria could have never been closer than today. On April 13th, at night, Donald Trump ordered to bomb Damascus with 120 Tomahawks, which were directly aimed at Assad’s suspected chemical facilities. A similar military operation was conducted exactly twelve months earlier, followed by the delivery of a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast – known as MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) – to an ISIS camp in Afghanistan.