Monday the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot and killed while speaking at the opening of a photo exhibit in Ankara, Turkey. The gunman, Mert Altintas, was a Turkish policeman, although there are conflicting reports as to whether he had been dismissed from his position prior to the attack. In any event, while Altintas was not part of the security on hand for the event at which the Ambassador was killed, Altintas did use his police ID to get past security without relinquishing his weapon and to gain proximity to the Ambassador before shooting him.

After gunning down the Ambassador, Altintas made a number of comments in both Arabic and Turkish suggesting strongly that his actions were in response to the Russian participation in the siege and destruction of the Syrian city of Aleppo. The Israeli military intelligence website, Debka, is reporting that Altintas was a member of the Al Nusra Front. Both Turkey and Russia are vowing retribution against whomever is responsible for the assassination.

The high-profile assassination of a senior Russian diplomat in broad daylight will likely have any number of ramifications. Some of those will not be felt or understood for some time. Let’s take a look, however, at some implications, which are already crystal clear.

First, the Russian decision to jump into the Syrian morass with both feet has had long-term negative consequences for Russia. A few years ago Russia was largely ignored by Sunni extremists other than those of Chechen origin. This is no longer true. Aleppo will be a rallying cry for jihadists many years from now, and the Russians are now going to find themselves targeted on a scale rivaling that of the United States and Western European states.