The ceasefire reached between Syria’s government and opposition could prove to be a turning point in the country’s civil war. Turkey, Russia and Iran played key role in the ceasefire agreement. The ceasefire is different from earlier ceasefires as the previous ones were negotiated between Russia and the United States, whereas the latest ceasefire agreement came after mediations of all major stakeholders.
The reaction from the Syrian government as well as the rebels gives hope that the deal could prove to be a game changer in the bloody war that has engulfed the entire country for a long time. The reaction also suggests that the parties involved have also realized that more blood is not the answer and the conflict has to be resolved diplomatically. Moreover, for the Syrian government, the ceasefire in an opportunity to announce it is ready for a peaceful settlement. Although President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly claimed that he would retake the entire territory from the rebels.
The UN Security Council has also unanimously endorsed a ceasefire currently in effect in Syria, as well as plans for peace talks to be held in the Kazakh capital next month. The resolution called for the “rapid, safe and unhindered” delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the country. Russia, which supports Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, brokered the ceasefire with Turkey earlier this week in the hope of paving the way for peace talks in Kazakhstan in the New Year.
The truce calls for negotiations over a political solution to end the bloody conflict that has killed more than 400,000 people and forced millions to flee.
The regimes willingness to negotiate is also the result of success in the battlefield, after the victory in Aleppo; the regime can now negotiate with the rebels from a position of strength. For the rebels, the momentum is gone. Their support is limited to certain parts such as Idlib, Daraa and the outskirts of Damascus. The question they face is whether they should continue fighting a never-ending war of attrition or seek to gain leverage from whatever military influence they are left with.
A peaceful solution to the war is also in interest of both Russia and Turkey. The two countries know well how the US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan panned out and they don’t want to risk getting stuck in a never ending war.
By promoting a negotiated deal, both countries can maintain their core interests in Syria while at the same time projecting themselves as countries of influence in the region. For Turkey the repercussion of a long war can be devastating, it wants to limit the spillover effects of the war on its soil and stop Kurdish rebels from capitalising on the chaos in Syria. This is one of the major reasons that Turkey and Russia are pushing for the success of the ceasefire.
Irrespective of the motives of the warring factions, and the outside stakeholders like Turkey, Iran, Russia and US, the ceasefire is a welcome move. The humanitarian crisis in the region was getting worse by the day. Millions have been affected by the civil war; the refugees’ crisis resulting as a result of the war has spread to even Europe. We can only hope that the ceasefire proves to be the start of the new beginning for Syria and an end to the war that has taken thousands of lives and destroyed even more.
NEW YORK: The Covid-19 infections rose eight percent last week to more than 3.8 million, the UN health agency has...Read more