Why the Syria-Turkey Skirmishes Won't Lead to All-Out War

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Despite Syria's rising tensions with Turkey, the international community is working to contain the crisis and there is little change of all-war between the two. Roxanna Bou Munsif reports.

Political observers concerned with the regional political scene were alarmed by the recent critical situation that has arisen following the border skirmishes between Turkey and the Syrian regime

Many fear that these skirmishes could lead to a regional war. However, several political sources, who have been in recent contact with Arab and international forces, have stated that there are a number of elements that could ward off a possible deep-seated change in the situation. 

They said that the situation could only change through pure radical amendments, the elements for which are:

— It is very unlikely that the Syrian regime and Turkey will go to war over the daily skirmishes taking place along the Syrian-Turkish border. Despite the support granted by NATO countries to fellow member Turkey, it is improbable that an all-out war will erupt, even if the Syrian army continues its daily shelling in an attempt to drag its neighbor into such an option.

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The Syrian army is committed to protecting the regime at home. For this reason, it cannot deflect its focus and capabilities, even though the army is still strong and would be supported by other forces in the case of new wars. The different international stances, which were adopted by the United States, European nations and Moscow over the scenarios that could result from these skirmishes, were firm and set certain boundaries to prevent the situation from turning into a regional or worldwide war.

— The parameters that were set for a possible Israeli military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities prevent certain means from stimulating this strike. This is particularly true since any war that extends beyond Syrian territory into neighboring countries will open the door to unknown possibilities.

Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that Iran — regardless of its financial crisis — is capable of engaging in a confrontation. Even though some believe that wars with foreign countries could be a step forward that would help the [Syrian] regime survive — especially if the regime is experiencing grave internal issues, as is the case in Iran — the Syrian regime is incapable of withstanding any confrontation with foreign forces alone. 

For that reason, Iran is not encouraging Syria to accept the scenario of war with Turkey because it will find itself in a confrontation with the Arab Gulf and non-Gulf countries, as well as Turkey. Iran cannot close the only open outlets in the midst of mounting international and individual sanctions.

— The Syrian regime will show its resilience and sustainability but will eventually collapse. This collapse will either take place following an economic crisis or through military pressure. The Syrian regime is in a state of denial over the fact that it has fallen into a state of collapse, and is convinced that it is capable of winning the battle.

According to the various scenarios that have been discussed in the past months, the division of Syria is unlikely. However, that does not mean that Syria will not turn into a confederation of sects and groups, similar to Iraq, which is a confederation in disguise.

The political sources shed light on an incident in which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted — during a video conference with officials from several countries — that dividing Syria is not an option. This was mentioned following talks hinting that the Syrian president could control the Alawite section of Syria, while the other part of Syria would be self-governed by either the Kurds or other groups or sects.

The US stance came to reassure the fears of the repercussions of a division in Syria on the region, which is a scenario sought by the regime to maintain its stay in power, even if it means having power over only part of Syria.

The Syrian president is in denial over his current situation, and Hezbollah is also in denial about the fact that it will lose the support of Syria with the fall of the regime. Hezbollah is not prepared to deal with such a scenario, as it confronts serious challenges pertaining to its ability to adapt to regional changes, which are mainly caused by the current political situation.

This is similar to the Palestinians losing what they have always been known for — i.e. the resistance — after the Hamas movement left the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance by supporting the Syrian revolution. Iranian involvement in Syria will be aborted if it will lead to devastating both Iran and the Syrian regime. The same applies to Hezbollah, which is supporting the regime in the face of its opponents, which are mostly Sunnis.

— The concerns over Jordan are mounting. This is not only because of the impact of the war in Syria but also due to some Arab countries motivating and supporting governments affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Even though attaining change in Jordan is a complicated process and might draw change in the Gulf countries, according to informed sources there will be progress in solving the Palestinian issue.

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