Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Arrival of John Kerry, US Secretary of State in the conference "Supporting Syria and the Region". The event was co-organized by the Britain, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations. Date: 04/02/2016. Location: London. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jack Taylor.

Arrival of John Kerry, US Secretary of State in the conference “Supporting Syria and the Region”. The event was co-organized by the Britain, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations. Date: 04/02/2016. Location: London. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jack Taylor.

The US-Russia plan for a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria, endorsed by the UN Security Council on Friday 26 February kicked off in the early hours of Saturday and two days after is still more or less observed. Understandably the cease-fire may collapse at any moment but the US and Russia seem determined to keep it alive. The truce doesn’t include the Islamic State and the Nusra Front controlled by al Qaeda. Damascus forces under President Bashar al-Assad and his foes, the various rebel groups, have largely stopped the hostilities.

However, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units of YPG and their adversary Turkey both said they will abide by the UN resolution to stop fighting, but they will respond by force to any breach of the Security Council resolution. It goes without saying that the US and Russian air raids have stopped except when it comes to bombing the jihadist forces.

Rather too late for the people

Alas, it’s rather too late for Syria, a country that has actually ceased to exist, with the various conflicting forces having dissolved and partitioned it and now fighting for some more square miles of land. After five years of hostilities more than 11 million are homeless and almost six million of Syrians have abandoned their countries. They have been seeking refuge in the neighboring countries the Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, with more than one million of them having reached Europe through the Greek islands and the Balkan corridor. Another five million are thought to be refugees in their own country trying to avoid fighting and famine.

This newspaper has extensively covered the Syrian issue, but this is not the time to analyze who is to blame for turning the ‘Arab spring’ peaceful protests for democracy in Damascus and the other major cities of the country, into an inferno of deadly civil war. At this point is much more important to assess the weight of the US-Russia plan for the “cessation of hostilities”.

Turkey: The reluctant ally

As expected, the Islamic State fighters would try to undermine the cease-fire in which they are not participating. Understandably, the US – Russia plan foresees that the butchers of the hard-line Sunni ISIS will continue to be fought until they are totally extinct. In this context, last Saturday morning, the ISIS militants attacked a town near the Turkish borders held by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Their purpose was obviously to implicate the Turkish forces against the Kurds, given that Ankara is clearly looking for opportunities to attack the Kurds.

However, the US coalition war planes swiftly came to help the Kurds with at least 10 air strikes. This was also a reminder to Ankara that the American forces implicated in the Syrian fighting consider the Kurds as their close ally. It seems that this was necessary because during the last few weeks the Turkish air forces have been hitting the Kurdish positions everywhere in Syria. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly provoked the US to decide on which side they are, Turkey’s or her enemies the Kurds.

The Americans are now convinced

In any case, the Americans seem finally convinced that apart from the Kurds, on the Syrian soil there are no other effective and determined foes of ISIS. The same is true for Assad but he is under Moscow’s spell. The various rebel groups that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been backing for years in the Syrian civil war are either neutral or even cooperate closely with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.

All of them have only one common cause, to extinguish the Bashar al-Assad regime and together with it the entire Alawite population of Syria which numbers some three million people. Alawites are a small sect of the Shia Islam. That’s why the Shia followers of the Lebanon Hezbollah and the Iranian government have been very decisively and successfully helping Assad and his Alawites. This proves then that it’s impossible to extinguish an entire people of three million and Russia made sure that this will not be the case.

Assad: A part of the solution

In view of this reality, it seems that Washington finally was forced to come to terms with Moscow and accept that the President Bashar al-Assad and the part of the population he stands for cannot be absent from the final arrangement. Russia has been insisting about that since the very beginning of the hostilities and Vladimir Putin had made it quite clear that he will not abandon Assad to the be slaughtered by the Sunni militias.

Apparently, the Americans also had to consider the views of their closest allies in the Syrian issue, the French. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 2015 and the bloody Paris attacks of last November that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded, the French government along with other Europeans understood that there was no other way to deal with ISIS and the other jihadist forces than total war. Seemingly, the Americans are now also convinced of that and understood that Turkey and Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted in this affair.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia forced into the deal

Towards the same direction, the newcomer in the world affairs Tehran pressed Paris and Washington to respect the rights of the Syrian millions of Alawites. The result was that the US had to come to terms with the other elephant in the room which is Russia. Understandably, the Americans didn’t like it at all but it seems that the US presses on with its foreign policy plans to their limits, but when those limits appear insurmountable Washington appears ready to compromise.

This is what is now happening in Syria. Undoubtedly, the final arrangement will comprise Assad leading his Alawite compatriots and the Kurds in the north. As for the truce, it holds well despite some isolated incidents that do not alter the overall positive picture. In any case, there is every indication that it will lead to the negotiations table under the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Two women threaten to tear the world apart

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons marks first anniversary, but still lacks sufficient numbers to become law

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Giving humanitarian help to migrants should not be a crime, say MEPs

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Will Merkel ever steer the EU migration Titanic and restore her power in Germany?

Why is the EU launching a doomed policy in stopping immigrant waves? What are the real targets?

Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks, UN agency reiterates call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

How much is nature worth? $125 trillion, according to this report

Preparing medical students for new challenges in medical ethics

The EU Commission predicts a decimated growth in the next years

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Imaginary Journeys Into Eternal China

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

G20 LIVE: “United States and Turkey stand in solidarity with France and its people in handing the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice”, US President Barack Obama underlines from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Trade in fake goods is now 3.3% of world trade and rising

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Brexit: Ensuring a smooth transition for car producers and safety on the roads

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Sudan, Libya, Yemen updates, solutions for e-waste, flood response in Iran, online security for children

Chart of the day: This is how many animals we eat each year

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Doctors without borders

German egotistic inward turn to badly hurt Europe after Merkel’s exit

You’ve heard of 5G, but what about the quantum internet?

Marking Sir Brian Urquhart’s 100th birthday, UN honours life-long servant of ‘we the peoples’

Protect women’s rights ‘before, during and after conflict’ UN chief tells high-level Security Council debate

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Accelerating a more sustainable industrial revolution with digital manufacturing

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

These chefs are fighting hunger and poverty with gastronomy

Service and Sacrifice: Ugandan ‘Blue Helmets’ support UN efforts to bring peace to Somalia

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

MEPs approve EU’s spending in 2017

Myanmar: Conflict resolution at ‘total standstill’, military commanders must answer for crimes against humanity

5G will redefine entire business models. Here’s how

UN rights experts call on Russia to release Ukrainian film-maker whose life is in ‘imminent danger’

“No labels for entrepreneurs!”, a young business leader from Italy cries out

Is there a chance for the West to win the war on terror?

Soil pollution ‘jeopardizing’ life on Earth, UN agency warns on World Day

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN chief calls for ‘solidarity, compassion and action’ on World Refugee Day

Batteries can power sustainable development. Here’s how

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Monday’s Daily Brief: ‘Horror’ at Notre Dame fire disaster, Yemen still bleeding, measles now ‘global crisis’

‘Humiliation was the worst’; Holocaust survivor at UN, asks world to act with ‘empathy and compassion’

Population in crisis hit EU countries will suffer for decades

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Yemen update: UNICEF chief condemns attack in Taiz that claims lives of seven children

Is Europe ready to cooperate with the rest of the world? Can Germany change its selfish policies?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s