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Friday, August 26, 2016

Turkey Invasion of Syria Highlights Shifting Alliances - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Syria à la Carte: Turkish Invasion Highlights Rapidly Shifting Alliances

By Maximilian Popp and Christoph Reuter

The Turkish advance into northern Syria marks a turning point in the Syrian conflict. Its nominal target was Islamic State, but with large powers reconsidering their alliances in the region, the Kurds stand to lose the most.

One common description of chaos theory holds that the flapping of a butterfly's wings can trigger a tornado. And it could very well be that the theory is the best tool we currently have available to describe the complex situation in Syria. The butterfly wings in this case was the late July decision by the Syrian regime to recruit new tribal militia fighters in a remote northeastern province. The tornado it triggered four weeks later was threefold: the invasion of northern Syria by the Turkish army; the sudden expulsion of Islamic State from the border town of Jarabulus; and the US military suddenly finding itself on both sides of a new front in Syria -- that between the Turks and the Kurds.

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