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President Bashar Assad's certain victory in an election next month, derided internationally as a charade, leaves Turkey facing a bitter truth – its assumption of his quick demise was a costly miscalculation.With Al-Qaeda-linked armed groups controlling patches of territory across Turkey's southern border and a registered refugee influx set to top a million within months, Syria's 3-year-old war presents Ankara with an increasing financial burden and a growing security threat. A gunbattle in March when special forces raided the suspected Istanbul hideout of an Islamist militant group active in Syria highlighted the potential threat to Turkey from the thousands of foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the conflict, a portion of them entering Syria over the Turkish border. Turkey is struggling to cope with the spillover.Diplomats and security experts fear expertise developed by fighters inside Syria, such as the use of new types of explosives, could be used in attacks in Turkey or beyond.Erdogan has said it is "out of the question" that such groups can take shelter in Turkey and has stressed Turkey will continue to exclude them from its broader support for the moderate Syrian opposition.
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