On Tense Syrian Border, Turks See Troop Deployments a Mixed Blessing

Locals Happy for More Security, But Fear an Invasion

Turkish military forces and equipment continue to arrive, in increasing numbers, along the nation’s southern border with Syria, a site that locals are seeing as very much a mixed blessing, particularly with the Erdogan government talking up intervention on the other side of the border.

With the Syrian side of the border now controlled by a mixture of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Kurdish factions, Turkish villagers see increased security deployments as a welcome sign. They worry, however, what this is leading up to.

A Turkish invasion of Syria to create a “security zone” out of Kurdish territory would put those Turkish troops in the line of fire, but more importantly would turn southern Turkey into the front lines of the war, a much bigger problem than the refugee influx they are already facing.

Turkey has centered their policy on the Syrian Civil War on a goal of weakening Kurdish secessionist movements inside Syria. Not only has this backfired, producing a large, autonomous Kurdish region, it has also left Islamist groups in control of much of Syria, and millions of refugees in Turkey. If the deployments are reactive to the worsening situation, locals seem okay with it. If they are proactive attempts to further Turkish military goals, however, most fear they’ll just make things worse again.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.