Conflict & Justice

Turkey Wants Greater US Role in Backing Syrian Rebels

Six consecutive days of cross border shelling from Syria have Turkish officials increasingly frustrated with US policy on Syria. Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution's Doha Center says Turkish policymakers want the US to do more to aid the Syrian opposition.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

Turkish officials "feel that they're out there on their own. There's even a sense of betrayal," Hamid says.

Hamid thinks White House concerns about the dangers of aiding the opposition are legitimate, and appreciates that advanced weaponry destined for the Syrian opposition could get into the hands of extremists. But Hamid argues that terrorist and extremist elements are a "small minority" of the Syrian rebel forces.

"We shouldn't just assume that Islamist equals jihadist," Hamid says. "There can be a more coordinated effort to work with certain groups on the ground and make sure arms are getting to the right people."

  • turkey_syria_border.jpg

    Credit: REUTERS

    Turkey's Chief of General Staff Necdet Ozel (R) receives information during his visit at a border outpost on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Turkish Military/Handout (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

  • turkey_syria_border1.jpg

    Credit: REUTERS

    Turkey's Chief of General Staff Necdet Ozel (R) receives information during his visit at a border outpost on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Turkish Military/Handout (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

  • Aleppo_Syria.jpg

    Smoke rises after a mortar shell hit a street in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo: Reuters)

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