The world is watching, mostly helplessly, while the Kurdish resistance fights against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the town of Kobani in northern Syria, just a few kilometers away from the Turkish border. On the Turkish side, again just a few kilometers away, there is the Turkish town of Suruç, mainly inhabited by Kurds.
Since the outburst of the conflict between the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish insurgency movement, which has assumed the governance of the region after the departure of Bashar Assad's forces and ISIS, tens of thousands of refugees fled to Suruç. Many of the inhabitants of Suruç and Kobani are related. They speak the same language, share the same traditions and are the same people, yet their fates are totally different. Inhabitants of Kobani have left their houses, belongings and sometimes part of their family behind in order to save their lives. Inhabitants of Suruç are extremely saddened because of this influx of desperate refugees, but they are under the protection of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) who are mounting a vigilant guard at the frontier where an important number of armored divisions have amassed.
The fierce fighting is continuing in Kobani, and sometimes, mortars fall on the Turkish side of the border. There is usually a swift response on the part of Turkish artillery when it becomes evident that Turkish territory has been targeted. The adverse cannon batteries are destroyed without much hesitation. But the real effort deployed by the Turkish authorities is visible in the field of humanitarian aid. Women, children and the elderly are immediately examined and they are either sent to hospitals if needed, or refugee camps. Turkey had to accept 160,000 refugees in two weeks.
The population of Suruç and its neighboring towns are also extremely welcoming to the people fleeing Syria. However, the policy followed by the PYD since the beginning has been criminally wrong. First, after Assad's forces left Kobani and the surrounding regions, they entered from Iraq waving flags and celebrating their "independence." They have created cantons as if it were Switzerland encircled with democratic regimes and whose neutrality is internationally recognized. How they did not anticipate that siding with the regime would create terrible problems remains a total mystery.
The Turkish Parliament is on the verge of voting on a mandate allowing the TSK to intervene outside Turkish borders in Syria and Iraq for humanitarian and security purposes and help allied forces. This is probably the most empowering political move for the Turkish Army since the Gulf War. It is very unlikely that Turkish forces will go to war against ISIS or other armed movements, but the idea is to establish "secure pockets" and humanitarian corridors within Syria. That will be done not only by the Turkish Army, but also in collaboration with allied armed forces. Other than establishing sound humanitarian infrastructure and logistic support for secure areas and allied forces, Turkey will certainly refrain from becoming part of the bloody strife going on in the region. This is the tale of two cities, one of them is located in Turkey, and the other in the Syrian nightmare. The only difference between these two cities is the frontier of the Turkish Republic and its democratic regime.