Turkey and Syria have been tense with one another for a while. During the uprising inspired by Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere across the Arab Spring, Turkey’s been providing humanitarian aid to Syrians affected by the civil war as well as allowing refugees to cross into Turkey. 90,000, to be exact.
Syria’s been pretty annoyed by this.
But they’ve only been trading words up to this point — until Syria “accidentally” sent shells exploding over Turkey’s border, killing five Turkish civilians. Turkey fired back, and it’s unknown if any Syrians were killed.
Naturally, like all dictatorships in trouble, Syria runs to the UN and promise, promise, promise it’ll never happen again. Turkey, however, really doesn’t have the time for this. Their parliament has authorized military force against Syria to protect itself if necessary.
Turkey does not believe that the shelling by Syria was accidental, as they claimed that this has happened at least seven times before since the civil war began. They’ve now made it known that they’ll return fire if necessary.
The problem is, of course, entangling alliances. Russia’s been supplying arms to Syria, and Turkey is a card-carrying member of NATO. So, much like World War I, entangling alliances become very dangerous, with two smaller nations threatening to drag their much bigger buddies into war.
The strategic alliance between Russia and Syria goes well before the fall of the Soviet Union. Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez, got bailed out by the Kremlin when there was an Islamist-led insurgency back in the ’80s. Since then, Putin’s only strengthened the relationship. Attack helicopters, tanks, mortar shells (the kind that land in Turkey), landmines, rockets, and, yes, chemical weapons — all from Russia.
It may be that last one that troubles Russia the most. A full-out war may put those chemical weapons into play, and after that — who knows what happens next?
Question: Are we all gonna die or what?