The violence in Syria between the regime of President Bashar Assad and oppositions forces “poisons the stability and peace” in the Middle East and has become “a sort of national security threat” to Turkey, said Namik Tan, Turkish ambassador to the United States, on Tuesday. “There is no quick solution,” he told reporters during a Dec. 18 meeting in Washington, D.C. Tan said the “brutal” Assad regime “cannot sustain itself,” and opposition forces will ultimately prevail. The issue is how and when the regime will fall since the opposition cannot match the Syrian military’s firepower, he said. Turkey “has not provided any weapons” to the Syrian opposition forces, but is working to help them “unite their forces,” said Tan. He noted that Turkey does not wish to see extremist elements take the upper hand among the opposition forces. Turkey is also facing a humanitarian problem on its border with Syria. Already, Turkey is hosting more than 140,000 “Syrian guests” in 14 refugee camps, said Tan. Some 50,000 additional Syrians have moved into Turkey and are living there on their own means, he said. “We need more” help in dealing with the refugees, noted Tan. Turkey is for the territorial integrity of a democratic, post-Assad Syria in which “all groups, all sects, all views” are represented, he said.
As the Pentagon increasingly pivots its focus to strategic competition with China, the U.S. will look to expand its partnership with South Korea to increase security across the entire Indo-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said Dec. 2 during a visit to the northeastern Asian nation.