Obama's ISIS strategy undercut by Assad

Though the Turkish parliament last week authorized the deployment of troops into Syria and Iraq to fight the Islamist extremist group, leaders in Ankara say they will support only a strategy that includes removal of Assad’s regime and protection for Turkey’s borders against “other terrorist groups” — a reference to the Kurdish PKK, which has fought a guerrilla war against Ankara.

“We are ready to do everything if there is a clear strategy that after [the Islamic State], we can be sure that our border will be protected,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN Monday. “We don’t want the regime anymore on our border pushing people against — towards Turkey. We don’t want other terrorist organizations to be active there.”

While the Obama administration insists it isn’t cooperating with Assad’s government, many in Syria believe it is. And the administration has frustrated Turkey and rebel groups within Syria with its insistence that the Islamic State must be targeted first and with its slow response to changing the situation there.