Turkish diplomatic and military moves are complicating the fight against Daesh aka Islamic State, ISIL or ISIS.
Today (28 July 2015) Turkey is hoping to widen European/NATO support for its military offensive in Syria whose ultimate aim remains far from clear.
The Turkish attacks in Syria are seen in the West as helping the fight against ISIL. From Kurdish standpoints these attacks are aimed at crushing the Kurds. Are the Turkish hits on some ISIL positions cosmetic and those against the Kurds the real thing? That, too, isn’t clear either.
Neither has Turkey clarified if its so-called ‘shift’ in Syria also signifies a change of stance against Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Western positions still favour a regime change in Damascus, a situation that was seen to be under review after the nuclear agreement with Iran, Syria’s main ally.
If indeed Turkey is taking a serious fight against ISIL to Syria that helps Assad. So is Turkey now rooting for Assad or indirectly helping him through the alleged shift? That, too, isn’t clear.
The Iran nuclear agreement was interpreted in Damascus as a diplomatic victory for Tehran encompassing its policy toward Syria. In other words, no regime change in Damascus. But both NATO and Turkey need to clarify what they’re reading in the Iran nuclear agreement, its inevitable linkage with competing Iranian, Turkish, NATO and US policies in Syria and how Turkey’s military actions will help the fight against ISIL without letting Syria descend into Libya-style chaos.