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Terrorism & Security

Give war a chance: Syrian Army defectors want to strike back at Assad

The 'Syrian Free Army,' a group of up to 15,000 defected Syrian soldiers camped in Turkey, is seeking to be recognized as the opposition's military wing.

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 Ankara is publicly hosting Syrian opposition leaders along with insurgents who have based themselves within Turkey’s borders, and has reportedly been secretly arming the same forces. It’s preparing unilateral sanctions that go far beyond what any Western power has thus far attempted. ...

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...Muslim-majority Turkey’s credibility as a democratic model for the region is being put on the line with every suppressed Syrian protest and refugee who flees to Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan also recognizes Turkey’s historic opportunity: “Turkey is playing a role that can upturn all the stones in the region and that can change the course of history.”

Turkey's potential involvement in military intervention in Syria is apt to cause political debate within Ankara. Turkey's English-language Hürriyet Daily News writes that a Turkish opposition leader warned yesterday that the West had a "plot" to invade Syria. “The West has written a plot about democracy and liberty, and they are staging it. But this plot of democracy and liberty is nothing but the plot for an invasion,” Birgül Ayman Güler told the Hürriyet Daily News.

But a Libya-like scenario, of Western military support of native rebels, is still far off. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday that the organization has "no intention whatsoever" to intervene in Syria, and Paul Koring of the Globe and Mail writes that Syria's political and geographical location in the heart of the Middle East put Syria in a very different situation than Libya, one that would make Western intervention very difficult. 

But Nation editor Robert Dreyfuss writes in a commentary for the Guardian's Comment is Free that some hawks, like US Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona and Jeffrey White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, are pushing for Western military involvement, and that if the situation continues to get worse, intervention may become possible. "Somehow," Dreyfuss writes, "things that are 'totally ruled out' get ruled in when facts change."

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