The advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria across the Middle East has caused Turkey to consider teaming up with the United States to halt their progress. President Obama is assembling a coalition of nations to combat ISIS and roll back their gains in Syria and northeastern Iraq. The United States recently conducted its first air strikes against the Islamic State as Kurdish fighters battled them on the ground.
Kurdish forces has been fighting with ISIS across the Turkish border with Syria and thousands of refugees have fled across the border into Turkey for safety. The extremist Sunni militants of ISIS have been fighting Kurdish militants in the Syrian area of Kobani near the Turkish border for nearly a week. The Turkish authorities have been trying to prevent Kurds from crossing the border into Syria to join the fight.
The Turkish government has been overwhelmed by the number of refugees seeking asylum in the country. Nearly 150,000 refugees have crossed from Kobani into Syria since the fighting began. The situation at the border is pure chaos, rife with violence and deprivation.
Turkey has reconsidered its previous stance of staying out of the fracas after intense lobbying by the Obama administration at the United Nations General Assembly. U.S. officials are worried about the flow of foreign fighters for ISIS arriving in Syria after traveling through Turkey. The U.S. is also requesting that Turkey provide bases for airstrikes and join in on the military operations.
While Turkey is not happy with what ISIS has been able to accomplish, some officials fear that a victory by the U.S. coalition will cause the conflict along its border with Syria to move deeper into Turkish soil. They also fear that if the Kurds are able to defeat ISIS in their territory, it might embolden them to turn their attention to the Kurdish areas of Turkey.