Syria's fractious borders trouble its neighbours

Thursday night's shooting incident on the Syrian-Jordanian border is another ominous vindication of months of warnings: Syria's tumult threatens the very stability of its neighbours.

Armoured vehicles and infantry were reportedly involved in the clash in the Tel Shihab-Turra area, 80 kilometres north of Amman. No casualties were reported, but tensions remain high. Unconfirmed reports suggest that this was just the latest in a series of skirmishes between Jordanian soldiers and Syrian regime forces.

The struggle within Syria had already sparked bloodier incidents at and near borders with Turkey and Lebanon. Last month, Syrian rebels seized control of border crossings into Iraq, in part to facilitate the flow of arms and men.

The mesh of interconnections - geographical, cultural, tribal and political - in the region is millennia old. Now, as Syria's stability deteriorates, nearby countries cannot avoid becoming involved. The risk of regional conflict grows, with all of the attendant dangers.

There is little point in urging Syria's neighbours to show restraint; these governments have sovereign interests at stake. And as the flow of refugees from Syria increases, the pressures are growing, too.

More than 200,000 Syrians - at least 1 per cent of the population - have fled their country; 150,000 are in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The Jordanian border incident began with Syrian troops shooting at fleeing Syrians; the next day, a Syrian brigadier-general and two colonels reportedly defected to Jordan. There are also reports of Syrian agents prowling the refugee settlements.

Many of the refugees are Palestinians, long settled in Syria but now on the move again. In Jordan and Lebanon, this fact threatens delicate demographic and political balances.

Meanwhile, Iraqi troops sent to guard the frontier where Iraq's Kurdish region meets Syria narrowly avoided a conflict late last month with Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Turkey and Jordan, at least, are tolerating - not to say encouraging - Free Syrian Army bases and supply delivery near the border. Syria's President Bashar Al Assad will not be mourned by many neighbours. But these bases, whether or not one agrees with this limited assistance to the rebels, are a provocation to the regime; border incidents will inevitably continue.

Turkey's careful response after one of its jets was downed in June showed that the dangers of escalation are well understood. The pros and cons of deliberate intervention are debatable, but nobody can question that being pulled into a war by accident after a skirmish would be sheer folly.


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre V8

Power: 503hp at 6,000rpm

Torque: 685Nm at 2,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Price: from Dh850,000

On sale: now


Featherweight 4 rounds:
Yousuf Ali (2-0-0) (win-loss-draw) v Alex Semugenyi (0-1-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Benyamin Moradzadeh (0-0-0) v Rohit Chaudhary (4-0-2)
Heavyweight 4 rounds:
Youssef Karrar (1-0-0) v Muhammad Muzeei (0-0-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Marwan Mohamad Madboly (2-0-0) v Sheldon Schultz (4-4-0)
Super featherweight 8 rounds:
Bishara Sabbar (6-0-0) v Mohammed Azahar (8-5-1)
Cruiseweight 8 rounds:
Mohammed Bekdash (25-0-0) v Musa N’tege (8-4-0)
Super flyweight 10 rounds:
Sultan Al Nuaimi (9-0-0) v Jemsi Kibazange (18-6-2)
Lightweight 10 rounds:
Bader Samreen (8-0-0) v Jose Paez Gonzales (16-2-2-)

How to come clean about financial infidelity
  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own up than be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Inform them of the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and figure out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. 
  • Give it time: Like any breach of trust, it requires time to rebuild. So be consistent, communicate often and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Ensure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow through with what you say you are going to do when it comes to money can make all the difference in your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work on a plan to resolve the problem together: If there is a lot of debt, for example, create a budget and financial plan together and ensure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported. 

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching