The world’s war?
The world has entered the most complicated and multifaceted series of conflicts in the 21st century. After years of terrorist insurgencies across the Middle East, the ever-increasing threat of terror from ISIS to the rest of the world has encouraged a global response. Many Middle Eastern countries formed an alliance, determined to both remove President Assad from power in Syria, and to combat the threat from ISIS. The United States and European powers joined for the same reasons. However, Russia may have its own agenda. Determined to see their ally Assad retain power, Russian attacks focused on any and all opposition to the regime. With the atrocities in Paris, reluctant acceptance that the fight against the Assad regime must be relegated to a lower priority has resulted in an uneasy consensus between traditionally non-allied powers. Turkey had found itself on the front-line of the conflict from the very start.
A balancing act
Turkey has had to walk a difficult tightrope, finding itself under attack from two fronts. From the PKK, who spent three decades waging a guerilla war and terror campaign in Turkey, and the forces of ISIS. On the 24th of November, a Russian warplane on its war to Syria caused a controversy.
Turkey alleged that the plane was in its airspace, while the Russians claimed they were flying over the Syria. After repeated warnings, the situation came to a head. A Russian warplane was shot down by the Turkish authorities. Both pilots ejected. One pilot has been reported dead, the other has reportedly been captured by Turkmen militants.
The downing of the Russian war plane comes after repeated warnings from the Turkish government. Ankara alleges that this is the fourth time the Russians have violated their airspace. The Russians claim that they were flying over Syria. Both countries claim to have evidence to support their position. This unexpected development threatens to shake the already uneasy tacit alliance between many of the world’s countries. For all the criticism levelled at Turkey, they find themselves on the same side as the Kurdish Peshmerga, while the PKK forces continue to wreak havoc. Furthermore, ISIS brutality within the country, and at its borders, has intensified. The downing of the Russian war plane may serve as a symbol. A message to the world that Turkey, although essentially besieged by terrorist groups of all varieties, and having to watch as the world arrives at its borders, still retains some semblance of control. Whatever is the result of this act, one thing remains certain. As inconceivable as it may seem, the Syrian conflict has become even more complicated.