In recent years, Turkey and Qatar have found much common ground on a host of foreign policy issues. Both Ankara and Doha have sponsored a variety of Sunni Islamist groups, seen as conduits for their geopolitical influence in the fluid Middle East. However, both countries have experienced setbacks from their engagement in some of the region's conflicts, most notably in Syria.
Russia's intervention in Syria has introduced a dangerous new dynamic into an already volatile and complex conflict. Rather than advancing its self-proclaimed objective of fighting terrorism, many more Russian strikes have targeted moderate rebels -- "vetted" and supported by the United States -- as well as other expressly Syrian opposition groups backed variously by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
Christians have lived in Syria for over 2,000 years, but the ongoing conflict has been so brutal that I wondered if that history might come to an end. A few days after my arrival, I was standing outside my hotel when I saw a wedding party heading to the al-Zaitoun Greek Catholic Church, only a few steps away.
I have to differ with the author, however, about the status of Damascus Jews. Denying their persecution at certain epochs of Syrian history would obviously be incorrect, but so would to claim that Damascus was hell on earth for its Jewish community. That exactly is what the book tries to push through the reader's mind, quit intentionally.