The Syrian conflict (revolution and civil war) is far from ending and it seems to complicate more every day, despite the delusional statement by Putin and Assad that they won the war and the country would now enter a phase of “reconstruction”. The air-strikes escalade against civilians in different points of the country and the recent Turkish offensive in Afrin add fuel to a fire that has been burning non-stop for over six years.
By Gabriel Huland
In midst of a complete lack of control, the civilian population (especially around areas not controlled by the regime, like Afrin, Idlib and East Ghouta) pays the price of a conflict that takes grotesque dimensions and seems to never end.
In the last few days, even the United Nations, which shone several years for its complete inefficiency and for trying to “normalize” the figure of Bashar al-Assad, joined the voices that denounce the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Syria. The outrage when seeing images of children burned to death or killed by air-strikes is hard to deal with.
Different high-circulation newspapers, covering the Syrian war from a point of view that is neither objective nor neutral – many times reproducing the speeches of the dominant forces, acknowledged that the situation in Syria worsened and there is no visible short-term political solution.
Over the last days, the Russian aviation intensified the strikes on civilian zones of Idlib, the only province still controlled by groups that claim to be opposition to Assad, as a response to a Russian airplane crashed by them. Also, the White Helmets – also known as Syrian Civil Defense – denounced the use of chemical weapons in the city of Saraqeb, outside of Damasco, on February 4. Overall, more than 230 civilians died in Syria in less more than a week, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.
East Ghouta, situated in the surroundings of Damasco, has also suffered the intensification of air-strikes and siege by the regime and its allies. In this region, almost completely isolated from the rest of the country for five years now, over 100 people died just in the last days.
Also, since the Turkish army invaded Afrin –city located near the Syrian-Turkish border- under the excuse of fighting terrorist groups, the number of victims (civilians and militaries) is unknown. Predictably, the Turkish invasion will not be short – as the Turkish authorities said, and might quickly become a swamp for Erdogan. The Kurdish militias will not bend easily; they have combat experience, they know the field and will certainly receive strong international solidarity.
Geopolicy of terror
The revolution and posterior civil war in Syria –it is always worth to remember that it began as a pacific popular uprise against a dictatorial regime that was in power for 50 years- extrapolated the national borders a long time ago. In Syria, we see a raw failure of an international order dominated by capitalist powers willing to let an entire population agonize to avoid the triumph of a revolution that threatens the current order in the Middle East and North of Africa.
The last Sochi Conference called by Russia, just like all the previous ones, failed drastically. The so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), group acknowledged by the UNO as representative of the Syrian “moderated opposition” split and the majority voted for not participating in the Conference.The Kurdish groups did not participate, either. The conference became an empty open space in which the Russian, Iranian and Turkish governments spoke to themselves.
The main measure agreed was the formation of a “constitutional committee” led by the UNO to write a new Constitution for Syria. However, the Syrian regime – in another demonstration of arrogance, recently affirmed that it will not accept or acknowledge any committee formed by “foreign groups, no matter its name or function” (Source: Reuters).The blocking of international negotiations reflects the military and political indetermination on the ground and the current impossibility of any negotiated solution.
The Syrian regime, on its side, is far away from having the conditions to unify the country under its control. Assad has no political legitimacy, and today he fully depends on foreign forces to keep his current position. With the Syrian economy completely destroyed, Assad needs the financial support of his majoritarian allies (Russia and Iran). The speech of reconstruction is nothing but a delusion of a dictator that completely disconnected from the reality of his people and the world a long time ago.
The PYD-YPG (Kurdish) became a key factor in the present. On one side, it received the support of the United States and other Western powers to fight the Islamic State. On the other, they only strengthened at the beginning of the revolution and conquered territories from no-aggression pacts with Assad and through the suppression of any internal opposition. Once the fight against ISIS is no longer the priority of the US and the EU, Turkey –one of the main members of NATO and the key to restraining migrations to Europe- unleashed an offensive against the Kurds with the goal of weakening them and separate them geographically from the Turkish Kurds.
The US and Russia seem to have an important disagreement regarding Iran’s role in the post-Syrian war process. Trump’s policy of isolating the Ayatollah regime and prioritizing the relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia proves it. Israel as much as Saudi Arabia, apparently advancing with cooperation policies in the region, see Iran as the main enemy to be defeated.
Out with Assad and all foreign militias from Syria!
Although the possibility of ending the war in Syria (which will soon count eight years) is far away, the Syrian population keeps on resisting as it can.
Assad continues committing crimes against humanity every day, with green light (not explicit but implicit) by the international community and the United Nations. The great agreement between Russia, the US and the EU is to keep in power the biggest war criminal of the XXI century, with the speech of the “lesser evil” and the “lack of alternative” – both fallacies.
Any real solution for the Syrian tragedy will come from the base that Assad cannot stay in power any longer and must pay for his crimes. This is the most important element and main demand of most of the groups and organizations in Syria that still act on the field, inside and outside of the country. Also, any negotiation should include the topics of political prisoners, refugees, and internal and external displacements.
Unification of opposition groups is also demanded by several forces inside and outside of Syria, as well as the immediate withdrawal of all foreign militias (like Hezbollah and others) fighting together with the regime.
Lastly, the “fundamentalist” groups also lack legitimacy to talk in name of the Syrian people or to represent the opposition in any peace conference.