By Admir Fazlagikj
There is no solving the conflict in Syria without Turkey, a Middle East political analyst told Anadolu Agency.
"All the supporters of the fighters on the ground in Syria are somehow [geographically] distant from Syria. They can withdraw their jets anytime and stop financing the groups they support," said Muhamed Jusic, a Bosnian columnist for Al-Jazeera Balkans.
"However, Turkey does not have that luxury. Whatever takes place happens at the Turkish border. Therefore, there is no solution to the Syrian conflict without Turkey."
Saying that Turkey has largely been forsaken while dealing with security problems both at home as well as at its borders or handling the refugee issue, Jusic accused the international community of not sharing the burden.
Turkey hosts some 3 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
"In the past, Turkey proposed to its allies having a no-fly zone in northern Syria, but they rejected it," Jusic said.
The best choice
According to him, Turkey can play a constructive role in finding a solution for Syria, adding that Turkey's efforts both in the field as well as diplomatic negotiations for Syria are the best choice among the options presented by the world.
Following last month's Syria cease-fire deal brokered by Turkey and Russia, the upcoming Astana, Kazakhstan meeting comes as part of ongoing efforts by the two countries to promote a political solution in war-torn Syria.
Negotiations to reach a political resolution to the six-year war in Syria are due to begin in Astana between Syrian government and opposition negotiators on Jan. 23.
On another track, the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets, is continuing successfully.
Decrying the international community's lack of interest in finding a solution to the conflict, Jusic said this caused major terrorist groups to emerge and spread throughout the region.
According to Jusic, the detention of 41 Syrian rebels from the 2011 Arab Spring uprising and their release after heavy torture by the Assad regime was among the major turning points making the problem grow.
"These released people are now commanders of Al-Nusra and Daesh. This is not something that happened out of the blue," he said. "The aim of the Syrian regime was to end a serious and strong opposition in Syria as well as paint those who oppose Assad as extremists in the world’s eyes."
Not about sect, but energy routes
Jusic also said it is impossible to achieve peace for the war-torn country unless national and international actors negotiate on issues such as resettling refugees and stop seeing them as a threat as well as cooperate more on preventing the flow of foreign fighters.
He also said that some international actors, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, got involved in the Syrian issue for their own interests, which caused Sunni-Shia sectarian tensions to emerge.
"These two [Saudi Arabia and Iran] managed to paint the conflict in Syria as a problem between Muslims," he said. "In reality, it is among oil lobbies. The conflict over which routes gas and oil pipelines should be transported through is painted worldwide as if it were a problem of intolerance among Muslims."
Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.