The United States, along with its NATO allies, is in favor of Assad stepping aside and allowing a new government to be established. Russia and Iran openly support Assad’s regime. ISIS is taking advantage of the chaos to push its agenda of brutality.
To add to the mess and add yet another layer of difficulty to the Gordian knot of international relations, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that it says ignored warnings and violated its airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his anger amid claims that the jet’s instruments show it was firmly in Syrian airspace at the time, running a legitimate strike mission against ISIS forces. This event has the potential for lasting ramifications internationally, as Turkey is a key NATO member. NATO allies already have a tense working relationship with Putin’s Russia.
The Wall Street Journal reports on Putin’s threat of consequences for the lost jet: “Russian President Vladimir Putin tore into Turkey over the downing, saying the jet fighter was carrying out strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria, including Russian natives, and posed no threat to Turkey. The downing was ‘a stab in the back, carried out by accomplices of terrorists,’ he said . . . ‘Today’s tragic incident will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations’” (Dion Nissenbaum, Emre Peker and James Marson, “Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet Fighter,” Nov. 24, 2015).
Russia immediately upped the ante, sending advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to a Russian base in Syria just 30 miles from the border with Turkey, moving a naval missile cruiser closer to the Syrian coast, and announcing that Russian bombers will now be accompanied by fighter escorts on their missions.
It’s easy to see how Syria’s civil war could spread further conflict far and wide, with so many world powers focused on the conflict. (Source: The Wall Street Journal.)