A Pan-European Task Force on Cooperation in Greater Europe
, including former foreign and defence ministers from Russia, Turkey, the UK, Poland, Ukraine, and France has expressed its concern over the danger that the Syrian crisis could develop into an interstate conflict.
In its paper ‘Countering the Threats from the Middle East
’, the Task Force, coordinated by the European Leadership Network and partially funded by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, points out that the Syria conflict has become a proxy war with multiple actors and differing objectives. As such, there is a danger that an accident, military incident or an unauthorised action could spark a direct military confrontation between the external states involved (including Russia, the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK) in the absence of effective communication channels.
The group calls on all states involved to avoid any actions that may be misinterpreted as a direct attack on other state’s forces, operating in the vicinity of Syria and inside the country (air forces, special forces, advisors, etc.). In particular, they appeal for the lessening of tensions between Turkey and Russia and urge the political leadership in both countries to work towards reconciliation.