More mediation needed
Updated: 2012-10-15 08:10
Tensions between Syria and Turkey show no signs of abating after the two countries traded artillery fire again last week. If international efforts cannot provide a constructive approach to ease tensions, the crisis in Syria is in danger of escalating into a regional conflict.
The sporadic exchange of shelling between the two neighbors in the Middle East this month has been caused by several incidents of cross-border fire from Syria that sparked retaliatory shelling from Turkey.
These tit-for-tat retaliations have become an unwelcome trend.
On Wednesday, Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane en route from Moscow to Damascus to make an emergency landing in Ankara on the suspicion it was carrying weapons, fueling more tensions between the two neighbors.
The Syrian government retaliated on Saturday by banning Turkish civilian flights in its airspace.
Instead of engaging in such tit-for-tat actions, the two countries should respect each another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, exercise restraint and refrain from taking any action that may further escalate tensions.
Both have a stake in the region's stability and peace, and they should consider the impact of their rising tensions on neighboring countries and the region as a whole.
But without mediation the two neighbors seem unlikely to de-escalate their tensions any time soon.
The international community should play a constructive role in this regard and help defuse the tensions between Syria and Turkey, as the growing conflict between them has become a new obstacle to solving the Syrian crisis peacefully.
Mired in unrest, never a day passes in Syria without blasts or armed clashes between government troops and rebels. The chaotic situation in Syria now bears every emblem of a civil war, and its clashes with Turkey are tantamount to pouring oil on the fire.
The evolution of a civil war in Syria into a regional conflict is the last thing the international community wants to see. So it was heartening on Saturday that Syria extended its welcome to a Russian proposal to establish a channel for security communication with Turkey, which offers a ray of hope that the tensions between the two countries can be prevented from spiraling out of control.
However, more efforts should continue to be made, as Syria's skirmishes with Turkey are another undesirable development in the ongoing crisis.
(China Daily 10/15/2012 page8)