One thing that’s new in the old Syrian crisis is that Turkey has for the first time decided to fight the two most dangerous armed groups on Syrian territory. Why have the Turks decided to open fire on extremist Islamist parties after they've granted them refuge and munitions? It must be a new Turkish policy adopted following the old one of overlooking these groups' activity on its borders.
Who’s fighting on whose side?
The significance of the aggressive Turkish stance against extremist Islamist groups is that it corrects the wrong idea about both Syria and Turkey.Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The Turks realized that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is nothing more than a destructive terrorist group which is not less evil than the Kurdistan Workers' Party which they've been fighting for decades. Recent violent events showed how the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al-Nusra Front succeeded at breaking the backbone of the Syrian revolution on the local military level and on the international political level. This was further achieved by the Assad regime's propaganda, which disseminated that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is mere gangs. Therefore, the regime's forces achieved huge progress in many areas.
Considering its massive military capabilities, a 900-kilometer border with Syria and the huge appreciation felt by the Syrian people towards the Turkish stance, we believe that Turkey is capable of playing a big role in finalizing the struggle in Syria and toppling the Assad regime. The Turks can correct their stance not only by banning extremist groups on Turkish territory but also by supporting the FSA and helping it organize itself and by not supporting groups that don't belong to the FSA.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 20, 2013.