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Citing Syrian Refugee Influx, Turkey Pushes (So Far In Vain) For Buffer Zone

More than 100,000 Syrian refugees are thought to be in Turkey
More than 100,000 Syrian refugees are thought to be in Turkey
Razi Canikligil

NEW YORK - Turkey intends to keep up its diplomatic efforts to establish a buffer zone in Syria, despite the United Nations’ failure last week to reach a resolution at the Security Council meeting on Thursday.

“How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?" Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu asked after last Thursday’s meeting ended in deadlock.

"I was expecting this meeting to produce tangible solutions to the suffering of the Syrian people," he said. "We don't have anything new to say to thousands of Syrians who suffer at the hands of the regime as the UN is entrapped by inaction."

Davutoglu’s remarks come on the heels of a statement he made earlier in the week urging the UN to create a safe haven within Syria. "We will emphasize that this burden now needs to be shared by the whole international community, not just by Syria's neighbors," he said.

If a buffer zone were to be implemented, it would require a UN resolution for a no-fly zone -- a measure that is unlikely to be approved since Security Council members Russia and China consider it a violation of Syria's sovereignty.

The council said that no contingency plan would be ruled out, but at the same time no new details were revealed about when such plans would be considered seriously.

Turkey has seen a mass influx of refugees seeking asylum from the bloodshed in Syria. Ankara said it is now housing as many as 100,000 refugees and cannot handle any more, even as streams of people continue turning up at the border. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees anticipates that the number could soon reach 200,000.

Terrorists training in the camps?

Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari also took a stab at Turkey, calling it “Syria’s Executioner.” He accused powers within the Security Council of "promoting imminent military intervention under humanitarian pretexts."

"It is clear that certain states do not see the issue of humanitarian aid in any way other than as part of a biased political agenda," he said.

Following the meeting, he went on to accuse Turkey of training terrorists within the refugee camps and sending them out against the Syrian government with weapons and war tactics.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putinism Without Putin? USSR 2.0? Clean Slate? How Kremlin Succession Will Play Out

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, political commentators have consistently returned to the question of Putin's successor. Russia expert Andreas Umland foreshadows a potentially tumultuous transition, resulting in a new power regime. Whether this is more or less democratic than the current Putinist system, is difficult to predict.

A kid holds up a sign with Putin's photograph over the Russian flag

Gathering in Moscow to congratulate Russia's President Vladimir Putin on his birthday.

Andreas Umland


STOCKHOLM — The Kremlin recently hinted that Vladimir Putin may remain as Russia's president until 2030. After the Constitution of the Russian Federation was amended in 2020, he may even extend his rule until 2036.

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However, it seems unlikely that Putin will remain in power for another decade. Too many risks have accumulated recently to count on a long gerontocratic rule for him and his entourage.

The most obvious and immediate risk factor for Putin's rule is the Russian-Ukrainian war. If Russia loses, the legitimacy of Putin and his regime will be threatened and they will likely collapse.

The rapid annexation of Crimea without hostilities in 2014 will ultimately be seen as the apex of his rule. Conversely, a protracted and bloody loss of the peninsula would be its nadir and probable demise.

Additional risk factors for the current Russian regime are related to further external challenges, for example, in the Caucasus. Other potentially dangerous factors for Putin are economic problems and their social consequences, environmental and industrial disasters, and domestic political instability.

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