Turkey Closes Syria Border Amid Islamist Gains

Syrian Rebels Say Move Is 'Temporary'

The Turkish Commerce Ministry has announced that it is closing all border crossings into neighboring Syria for an indeterminate period of time, citing clashes between rebel factions in the area.

That’s putting it mildly, as the top pro-US commander of the rebels, Gen. Salim Idris, has been forced to flee Syria outright, first to Turkey and then Qatar. All FSA warehouses have since been sacked by Islamist fighters, and his office is now the office of the Islamic Front.

It’s far from the rebellion Turkey had in mind when it started endorsing the uprising against its former ally Bashar Assad. Assuming a quick victory by the military defectors and some sort of junta, Turkey instead has two Syrias on its southern border: a Kurdish one and an al-Qaeda dominated one. Neither is expected to be friendly to Turkey in the near term.

The Syrian National Coalition, the civilian body behind the FSA, downplayed the move as “temporary,” expressing hope Turkey would reopen the border soon. That seems unlikely, however, as the rebels are skewing more and more Islamist with each passing day.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.