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Erdogan under pressure as Syrian crisis spreads to Iraq

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has limited regional influence and few good options as the pressure builds to slow the spread of the Syria war.
A member of al-Jabha al-Islamiya (the Islamic Front) takes position on a armoured vehicle at a checkpoint between the village of Kafaroumeh and the town of Maaret al-Naaman, to prevent members of the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from advancing towards Jabal Al-Zawiya, in Idlib January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Fadi Mashan (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) - RTX174EP
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A highly risky situation is emerging for Turkey on its eastern borders, as developments in northern Syria continue to deteriorate in favor of al-Qaeda-related groups that are also trying to make headway in Iraq’s strategic Anbar province. These developments have also pushed the question of removing President Bashar al-Assad from power to the back burner for the West as combating jihadists becomes a much more pressing need.

As work continues for the Geneva II conference, Ankara remains opposed to any settlement that will keep Assad in place. Addressing a Jan. 6 Nikkei conference in Tokyo, where he was on an official visit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan underlined this point once again.

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