Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Buffer Zone

I figured that Turkey had a free escalation after Syria shot down one of their aircraft.

It would seem that Turkey is carving out a vague buffer zone inside Syria along their common border by warning the Syrians to stay away from the border:

Turkey warned Syria on Tuesday to keep its forces away from the countries' troubled border or risk an armed response — a furious reply to the downing of a Turkish military plane last week by the Damascus regime.

As time goes on, that distance that Syrian forces must keep between themselves and the border will likely go up.

And the Syrian rebels will fill that protected void over time, effectively becoming a sanctuary and free zone.

UPDATE: This article agrees with my buffer zone thinking:

Rebels welcomed Erdogan’s remarks, saying that a more aggressive Turkish posture will provide a significant boost.

“The Turkish reaction is serious and firm,” Col. Malik Kurdi, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, said by telephone from southern Turkey. “This new situation will strengthen the Free Syrian Army not only in Idlib and the border areas, but in the whole of Syria.”

If the rebels can seize the initiative and push Syrian forces back from the border, the Turkish threat could create some form of buffer zone along the lines that the Syrian opposition has been calling for, said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar.

Much will depend on what Turkey does the first time Syrian military assets cross whatever Red Line that Turkey draws inside Syria. If turkey aggressively defends that line, the rebels have a free Syria.