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Geneva and Astana

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The Syrian people today feel bitter and disheartened about their situation and that of their community and country, which has been divided into cantons and isolated pockets, as a result of a war that has reinforced social and geographical division, displaced millions and killed thousands.

 

These feelings are enhanced by the actions of the different regional and international powers including Russia, Iran, Turkey, the United States of America and the Gulf States who have not played any positive role in deescalating the Syrian war or supporting efforts for a peaceful solution. On the contrary, these powers have exacerbated the situation, with some participating directly in the conflict, making the losses and destruction more disastrous. All this has increased the feeling of loss among Syrians, especially as the negotiations taking place do not bring about a solution to the death of Syrians.

 

The Geneva negotiations do not appear to be making any significant progress on a political solution to the Syrian issue, with the exception of Mr. De Mistura's submission to the United Nations Security Council calling for all parties to participate together at the expert level on legal and constitutional issues to break the stalemate. The opposition is concerned with the discussion of the political transition and demands progress in this area, while the regime delegation insists that fighting terrorism should be the priority for any negotiations. Meanwhile the absence of international support for the negotiations exacerbates the situation. The countries active in the Syrian negotiations want to promote their interests through a variety of avenues but a political solution is not one of them, which is why they do not put pressure on the participating parties to reach a solution.

 

In the context of the vicious cycle of these difficult political negotiations, the Russians and the Turks developed another framework in Astana, which is focused on military negotiations. These negotiations are considered by some to be more important than the political negotiations in Geneva and even as an alternative to them. This sentiment is particularly prevalent after the participating parties in Astana reached an agreement on “de-escalation zones", which were drawn on the basis of the ceasefire agreement, and with Russia, Turkey, and Iran as guarantors. This de-escalation agreement seemed to satisfy the demands of many regional and international parties. This indicates that the military and armed groups are the decision-makers in the Syrian war. International resolutions and political negotiations are not effecting what is happening on the ground with the displacement of populations, demographic changes, and the redrawing of maps and borders to separate these deescalated areas. These practices will have implications and consequences on the country's future and its territorial integrity.

 



2017-11-23

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