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Turkey and the Syrian Insurgency: From Facilitator to Overlord

Abstract : In the first years of the Syrian insurgency, Turkey adopted a hands-off approach by allowing anti-Asad militants and their foreign patrons to use its territory while minimally intervening in the rebellion’s internal affairs. However, as Gulf States disinvested from the Syrian conflict from 2015 onward, and as the Turkish army entered Syria in 2016, Ankara emerged as the chief patron of northern rebel factions. Turkey’s management of the Syrian rebellion during that period has featured four main characteristics: first, the AKP government has frequently relied on intermediaries recruited on the basis of shared ethnicity, in particular Turkmens, or ideology, such as Muslim Brotherhood aligned factions like Faylaq al-Sham; second, whereas Gulf States privileged a network-based, clientelistic approach, Turkey has sought to unify Syrian rebels through institution-building, a strategy best illustrated by the establishment of the Syrian National Army in 2017; third, a changing strategic context has led Ankara to profoundly reshape the purpose of the Syrian rebellion, away from its anti-Assad agenda and in support of Turkey’s priorities; fourth, in its relations with Jihadi groups, Turkey has displayed a risk-averse approach characterized by a combination of engagement and discreet pressures.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 2:40:20 PM
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Thomas Pierret. Turkey and the Syrian Insurgency: From Facilitator to Overlord. Balci, Bayram; Monceau, Nicolas. Turkey, Russia and Iran in the Middle East. Establishing a New Regional Order, Springer International Publishing, pp.59-77, 2021, 978-3-030-80291-2. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-80291-2_4⟩. ⟨hal-03350628⟩



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