Terrorism and Turkey Complicate Syrian Civil War

October 14, 2012 • Chris

The civil war in Syria is rife with storylines beneath the overarching theme of a population seeking freedom from its long standing, authoritarian ruler. Two factors that complicate the current state of affairs are the appearance earlier this year of Al Nusra Front for the People of the Levant, which is an Al Qaeda front group that has quickly emerged as a disruptive force.

Al Nusra Front – Click for live map

The group has been active in efforts against the Syrian government:

  • Carrying out a suicide attack at an Air Force Intelligence compound on the edge of Damascus killing or wounding at least 100 people and bombings in Aleppo killing at least 48 people.
  • Kidnapping and executing Syrian television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed in July and holding American freelance journalist Austin Tice hostage since August.
  • Reportedly ‘securing routes through Turkey and Iraq for foreign fighters, most of whom are from the Middle East and North Africa’ noted by US Treasury officials.

Then there’s the increasingly ominous strains with Turkey, which has long had issues around the Syrian border but ratcheted up military engagement after a reconnaissance jet was shot down by Syrian forces. Tensions have steadily risen since that time and show no signs of abating as reports emerged Friday that the Syrian passenger plane headed for Damascus intercepted by Turkish jets last week allegedly contained munitions supplied by Russia.

The latest events between Syria and Turkey can be seen in the below timeline:

Recent events on Turkey and Syria – Click to view live

How do you think things will move forward in Syria? Will Turkey take offensive action to secure its border? Does evidence of Al Qaeda piggybacking on rebel efforts increase the likelihood that Western powers will intervene?

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