Publicado el 06-25-2012
Syria’s Civil War Could Go
Beyond its Borders
International observers continue to follow closely the changing and serious situation in Syria where civilians are killed every day while President Bashar Assad’s regime tries to stay in power. Conservative estimates put the death toll at 14,000 since the revolt against Assad began in March 2011.
Assad issued a decree on Saturday, June 23rd, forming a new government as part of the political reforms he has promised to try to solve the crisis. After the May 7 parliamentary elections, Assad promised that his government would be more inclusive to politicians from other parties. But the new cabinet that he has formed will be headed by his former minister of agriculture who is also a loyalist member of the ruling Baath power. The ministers of foreign relations, defense and interior kept their pots in the reorganization.
Moreover, on Friday, Syria shot down a Turkish jet fighter that had entered its air space. Turkey was an ally of Syria before the revolt, but now is one of the staunchest critics of the Syrian regime because of the way it is reacting against the civil population. Turkey’s Foreign Minister said that the jet was on a training exercise, flying alone, and without weapons and that the Syrian authorities had made no attempt to contact it. When the Turkish authorities realized that the plane had strayed into Syrian airspace, the pilots were ordered to leave and did so immediately. However, minutes later they were shot down over international waters, worsening the crisis.
This Monday, June 25th, there are reports that thirty-three Syrian military, soldiers and high-ranking officers, have deserted and sought asylum in Turkey.
NATO will convene on Tuesday to study the situation. Turkey will invoke Article 4 of the NATO treaty which provides for consultations by the allies when one of them is attacked or threatened. Europe as well as the United States should stay on the alert, since any military intervention would have to be considered very carefully. Furthermore, the United States is not in a financial situation that would allow entering into another military conflict because of the high cost that this would imply in lives and treasure, plus serious political complications.