The Syrian Truce and the Siege of Turkey
25 April 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Despite of what is said regarding the stable security conditions in Syria,
arrival of humanitarian aids and partial ceasefire, the main beneficiary from
the ceasefire in the current circumstances remains President Bashar al-Assad's
The US-led international alliance is clearing and regaining territories from
ISIS, which are generally given back to the regime and its allies' control.
Before the implementation of the truce, Russia attacked opposition-held areas
in the north and Aleppo and cut supply routes and arms and fighters' corridor
Russian military activity coincided with Western pressure on Ankara to curb
the extremist opposition. Turkey should have thwarted the activities of rebel
groups similar to ISIS, such as al-Nusra Front, following Paris attacks and
the influx of millions of refugees to Europe, precisely Germany.
While Russians and Europeans were restraining Ankara, ISIS carried out
terrorist attacks against Turks. It is believed that they are acts of
retaliation after Ankara stepped up measures against the group.
The government performed a series of procedures to reduce external tensions
and try to impose stability, which was threatened by ISIS militants and
Turkey's rebelled Kurds.
This is why I mentioned that the Syrian regime took advantage of this truce as
Iran-linked militias such as Hezbollah have resumed military operations
against the Syrian opposition.
Meanwhile, the truce was supposed to be part of the political solution project
that opposing parties were negotiating over in Geneva under UN auspices.
However, all the indicators following the negotiations did not show serious
attempts to take decisive measures nor a minimal commitment to a final
resolution. All what the UN envoy to Syria, De Mistura, proposed in his plan
was concerned with controlling the situation on the ground in the coming
period. This implicitly means that Assad will stay in power within the context
of a possible consensual solution.
Can this bad situation, where Assad is being empowered and the Turks
pressured, fulfil the Russian-Iranian project to rehabilitate the regime
without making any fundamental changes to it? All indications prove that we
are heading towards this situation, but facts on the ground are challenging.
They cannot control 10 million Syrians who are either seeking refuge or
internally displaced or put an end to the presence of militias at a time when
the regime is so weak that it cannot impose its authority on its own, without
help from its allies such as Hezbollah's militia.
The truce is not a peace project, but a project to slow the pace of the
crisis. If this truce succeeds, it will turn Syria into another Somalia, where
Assad stays in power in the capital and controls a small part of the state,
while the rest of it remains in chaos.
Some think the Somali represents the least bad scenario, as the ongoing
violence in Somalia has not spilled over into neighboring countries such as
Ethiopia and Djibouti.
However, this is a bad option for the Syrians because it imposes the regime on
them, and is bad for the region because it will not stop violence from being
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.