The crisis in Syria began as a civil war, but then turned into a full-scale, inter-state crisis. Turkey had warned the international community from the beginning that this crisis should be quickly addressed and taken under control. Turkey had claimed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would not be able to preserve the country's territorial integrity for long, as it did not enjoy enough legitimacy in the eyes of divergent segments of Syrian society. Turkey also underscored that the civil war in Syria erupted mainly because of the Assad regime's attitude. Assad was able to start the civil war, but he lacked the ability to control it, and he definitely lacked the ability to put an end to it.
As you may remember, Turkey had once asked Damascus to implement comprehensive reforms to avoid the country's total collapse. Turkey also championed the establishment of a free trade area, not only between Syria and Turkey, but one that would include many other countries in the Middle East. Truthfully, Assad did not say "no" right away, giving the impression he would do something to avoid war. But he decided to follow an entirely different path after all.Some people claimed Turkey's leadership considered Assad's attitude "treason," which explains why Ankara became a staunch opponent of the Damascus regime. Regarding inter-state relations, however, one cannot explain everything through personal attitudes. One has to take into consideration regional or global balances of power and divergent players' conflicting interests. It was obvious that there were a number of players that did not want Turkey and Syria to develop a profound partnership.
Stability in the Middle East now seems impossible to reach, Turkey is under attack by the PKK, and there is the DAESH problem. The PKK's activities have played two distinct roles: Keeping Turkey away from Syria and deteriorating Turkey's relations with the West. DAESH, on the other hand, has created an environment that allowed the Assad regime to remain in power and opened the country's gates to Russia.
Let's not forget that Russia's relations with the West, and especially with Germany, have been particularly bad for some time because of the crisis in Ukraine. When Russia understood it couldn't have a privileged relationship with Germany, it tried to build bridges with Europe through various players. The Paris massacre offered Russia a golden opportunity to heal its relationship with France, for example.
But why has Russia preferred to have a crisis with Turkey instead of trying to cooperate with it? And what is the U.S.'s real position?
A number of European countries have probably realized that they have to develop an understanding with Russia if they want to remain present in the Middle Eastern equation. Of course, one cannot omit Turkey while making plans about the Middle East, so Russia has decided to handle this problem by provoking a crisis with Turkey. In doing so, Moscow announced that it prefers to cooperate with a number of European countries in Syria and not with Turkey. This is also a way for Russia to divide and weaken the Western alliance.
The problem is nobody seems to understand what the U.S. is trying to do. What is the U.S.'s real plan for the future of Syria? Is it still willing to work with Russia to manage the Middle
East or not? Does Washington want Turkey to get closer to the U.S. or not? What we know is as long as the U.S. remains this indecisive about Syria's future, Russia's room to maneuver will grow bigger. That is why we should, unfortunately, expect many new crises.