I do not believe there is a decisive military solution – at ground level – to resolve the conflict between the Syrian regime’s army and the rebel army, both engaged in a civil war.
Unfortunately, the solution will likely be a qualitative operation along the lines of “kill or be killed”. It may be a bombing, an assassination, an arrest, a bullet in the back, or a palace coup whether from outside the regime or from within the Alawite sect. Bashar al-Assad has decided to fight until the last soldier and the last Syrian citizen, and he will not succeed in imposing his will. The Syrian opposition has decided to wage a war that has developed from house to house to an outright conflict on the streets, in the face of the third strongest army in the region in terms of armament and numbers, and this may take years and years.
Because the President has decided not to relinquish power, step down, leave the country or seek political asylum, and because he has decided not to use a political settlement as a frame of reference to end the crisis, he has no choice but to pursue a bloody solution. The people are paying the price for this bloody solution in numbers nearing 40,000 martyrs, 300,000 wounded, and a million refugees and displaced persons inside and outside Syria who are awaiting the cold winter with a scarcity of resources.
This conflict will remain, and the bill for the bloody solution will continue to be paid by the people, until God decrees otherwise.
Turkey will not enter the fight unless:
1. America requests and encourages this.
2. It receives full funding from the Gulf States.
3. Most importantly, if popular pressure inside Turkey makes the decision to go to war the best option for the ruling party and Erdogan’s political standing.
As for a war of entanglement, Ankara is smarter than to fall into that. Turkey avoided such a fate when Israel attacked Turkish ships off the coast of Gaza in 2010, and also when Syria’s air defense forces shot down a Turkish plane earlier this year. Yet regular warfare – an invasion from abroad – or civil warfare are not the solutions. The practical solution comes from within the regime. It is still a bloody solution, but it only involves one bullet; to topple the regime’s head who has lost his mind and rejects all forms of political settlement.
Turkey’s national dignity has been wounded, and it has moved 250 tanks and 55 bomber aircraft to the Turkish-Syrian border. However, this is not to prepare for an actual war, but rather for reasons relating to the internal status of the ruling party and the prestige of the Turkish military establishment. Turkey certainly does not want a war, for it does not want to pay an expensive financial bill at a time when the ruling party is evaluating every political achievement in accordance with the number of trade deals and economic treaties established with other countries.