The conflict in Syria is unending and regional players are being sucked into the vortex of the bloody civil war. Hezbollah from Lebanon is already fighting to prop up the Assad regime and it seems that Turkey will also be drawn into the conflict with disastrous consequences. The trigger could be the most unlikely factor, a man who has been dead for 800 years, draw Turkey into the conflict.

The Al Qaeda linked Jihadis who are pouring into Syria under the banner of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS have threatened to attack the sacred tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb is situated inside Syria within the border city of Aleppo and is technically Turkish territory under a 100 year old treaty.

The tomb is guarded by a paltry 25 Turkish soldiers and the Turkish government has taken the threat from the FSA very seriously.

Turkey is already in an election phase and the political climate in Ankara is seething with corruption allegations against Prime Minister Erdogan who has even banned the social media site Twitter. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is increasingly critical of the radical fighters who have joined the war in Syria. Already the fault lines are visible and after the threat from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, Erdogan has stated in a Television interview that any attack on the shrine will be considered an attack on Turkey.

However experts doubt that Al Qaeda will invite Turkey’s wrath by attacking the 800 year old tomb. Rivals of Erdogan who oppose his policy of intervention in Syria are already crying foul and accusing Erdogan of starting a conflict with Syria for narrow political gains.

Provoking Turkey will not only lead to Turkish Military getting involved in the conflict but also choke the supply lines of the rebels. Much of the ammunition’s and hardware destined for ISIS pass through Turkey’s borders.

 

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