War between Syria and Turkey would then become war between Syria and all NATO members, leading in turn to confrontation between the NATO/Gulf state bloc on one hand and Russia, China, Iran and their allies on the other.
The government in Damascus has been deliberately locked into a cycle of violence fed from the outside by the self-styled ‘Friends of Syria’. Both sides are implicated in the killing of civilians yet the mainstream media has created a narrative in which virtually all the killing is the work of the army or the ‘regime loyalists’ known as the shabiha.
Outside the enclaves dominated by the armed groups, the people are strongly opposed to these groups and their external backers, knowing that but for the obstruction of Russia and China, NATO warplanes would have been bombing their country long ago.
While the destruction of the government in Damascus is an end in itself, Syria must also be seen as a way station on the road to Iran.
For a country which has a long history of other governments meddling in its affairs, the Turkish position is almost surreal.
Saudi Arabia wanted the US to attack Iran during the George W. Bush presidency and ‘cut the head off the snake’. Its interests are partly ideological, directed against Shiism in general as well as Iran in particular, while also arising from the traditional Saudi fear of its large northern neighbor.The US put the Syrian government on its list of states that support terrorism in 1979 and since the introduction of SALSA (Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act of 2003) has gradually tightened economic sanctions in an effort to bring the government to its knees.For Israel Syria has always been the visceral Arab enemy and of course, what Israel wants, any US administration will do its best to deliver. Turmoil in the Arab world suits Israel down to the ground, literally. It is tightening its hold on all the territories occupied in 1967 all the time without the world paying any attention because of the drama of the ‘Arab spring’. Not that the world has ever paid much attention but for the moment Israel is having a dream run.
Both Alevis and Christians still have family ties across the border and both see the Assad government as an effective guarantor of minority rights. They certainly do not share their own government’s perspective.