Turkey-Syria Border Tension: Three Things to Know

Turkey-Syria Border Tension: Three Things to Know

October 4, 2012 2:03 pm (EST)

Turkey-Syria Border Tension: Three Things to Know
Explainer Video

Turkey’s parliament has authorized the country’s military to take further action against Syria after a mortar attack on Turkish territory killed five civilians. CFR’s Steven A. Cook says the decision is unlikely to lead to war between Turkey and Syria for three reasons:

More From Our Experts
  • Turkish interests: While the Turks reserve the right to retaliate against Syrian provocations, they have also clearly indicated that "they are not interested in the Syrian conflict widening," Cook says.
  • Syrian interests: "Syrians don’t want war themselves," Cook says, and they have conveyed that cross-border shelling will not happen again.
  • The Kurdish factor: Turkey is also unlikely to pursue a full-scale invasion of Syria because it could encourage the nationalist sentiments of Syria’s large Kurdish population, and result in violent action by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Cook argues.

Top Stories on CFR


Government leaders are optimistic that COVID-19 is becoming endemic, meaning more predictable and manageable. But many scientists say it’s too soon to behave like the pandemic is over.

Climate Change

The UN climate summit delivered on a loss and damage fund, but it fell short on goals to reduce emissions and avoid the worst consequences of climate change.


Malaysia's voters delivered an inconclusive message in the general election, leading to a hung parliament.