Hassan Hassan writes: For Turkey, defeating ISIL remains a lower priority than preventing Syrian Kurds from establishing the infrastructure for a future state in the north and the downfall of the Assad regime. Ankara is unlikely to change its priorities on ISIL unless there is understanding about these other issues. Also, the West is more interested in fighting ISIL than the Assad regime. But they require the help of Syrian rebels, who have the reverse priorities.
With such a divided coalition, who needs enemies? ISIL will continue to reap the benefits of such confused priorities until all the parties agree to work towards one goal under one strategy. That is possible and it starts in Aleppo.
Over the past few months, a momentum has been building among the Syrian rebels to fight ISIL: for the first time since it was established in early 2014, the usually-quiet Syrian Islamic Council issued a fatwa in June to fight ISIL. In the same month, a large coalition of rebels on the ground met in Antakya and concluded that fighting ISIL was a priority for all the rebels. Even Jabhat Al Nusra’s leader made it clear that ISIL was an enemy in an interview with Al Jazeera. [Continue reading…]