Turkey will be a useful ally against ISIL. However, the partnership could become complicated. Turkey will do what it must to stop a Kurdish state. The Kurds and the US have enjoyed a healthy relationship over this past decade of war. Syria has spoken out against the Turkish invasion calling it a “breach of sovereignty.” Syria might know what Turkey’s goals are, to remove Assad.
Turkey is a Sunni government and Syria is Shia and aligned with Iran. Turkey has argued for the removal of the Assad regime since the beginning of the unrest in Syria. Little changed over the years of the conflict. In 2014, during the world economic forum President Erdogan stated that while he will fight ISIS, he wants Assad gone.
Why does Turkey want Assad gone? The alternative to the Assad regime would be a new Sunni government. Syria is majority Sunni. Syria could serve as an extension of the Turkish government. The Middle East is on the verge of being born anew. Borders once observed will not be much longer. Turkey is in concert with the Gulf states in their desire to bring about regime change. They probably view the ISIL parade as a product of negligence of the international community. And the Gulf countries aren’t going to stop pumping money into the conflict.
Turkey knows that the ISIL phenomena has distracted Western forces from their original intent: to remove Assad. The Atlantic asked, “Can the U.S. Defeat ISIS Without Removing Assad?” It’s not a question that’s been answered. As Turkey moves into Syria, the world might find out. However, Turkey might also be on a simultaneous mission to curb the Kurds. The Kurdish – Turkish conflict has been ongoing since 1978, with no end in sight.