New talks on Syria: running in circles or a hint of progress

Нові переговори щодо Сирії: біг по колу чи натяк на прогрес

A new attempt for a peaceful settlement in Syria. The leaders of Germany, France, Turkey and Russia met in Istanbul. Main theme – long ceasefire in Idlib province and the beginning of large-scale humanitarian campaign. Most areas of the country after almost 8 years of war destroyed

However, each side has its interests and its vision. Russia, supporting official Damascus, had hoped to benefit from oil and gas deposits in the North of the country and to assert its influence in the region. Damascus hoped to continue the offensive and to destroy the radical group that is now concentrated in the province of Idlib. Then government forces controlled almost the entire country. Ankara, unofficially, by contrast, supports some of these groups. And wants instead to destroy Kurdish considers them terrorists. That is why we have twice sent troops in Syria.

Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President:

Our goal is to permanently eliminate the threat against our country. It’s time to destroy the nests of terror in the East of the Euphrates and to make the area peaceful for our Syrian brothers.

Нові переговори щодо Сирії: біг по колу чи натяк на прогрес

Following the meeting, adopted a resolution. In it the four heads of state urge the international community to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Syria and to facilitate the return of refugees. The parties to that conflict must cease fire. The Europeans do not want a new invasion of migrants over the past few years added a lot of trouble. About half a million Syrian refugees came to the European continent. This has led to strengthening of positions of right-wing movements and critics of a United Europe. And Merkel and macron beneficial to the refugees returned back to Syria.

Emmanuel macron, the President of France:

We will carefully monitor the implementation of these agreements and with long-lasting and stable ceasefire. We support the plans of President Erdogan intelligence sharing and humanitarian assistance. And I hope that Russia will put pressure on the Syrian regime.

Нові переговори щодо Сирії: біг по колу чи натяк на прогрес

However, Putin does not seem to hear the European leaders. Says Moscow reserves the right to assist the Syrian military to eliminate terrorists in Idlib province, if they will continue provocations. And throws the responsibility on Turkey. Encourages her hurry to withdraw the opposition of the demilitarized zone.

Vladimir Putin, Russian President:

Despite the fact that the level of violence in Syria has decreased significantly, elimination of all concentrated here radical elements remains one of the most important problems. We must not allow the militants who received combat experience, continue criminal activities, to create cells in our countries, to gain followers, to preach extremist ideology and terror.

It was the province of Idlib is now the bone of contention. There is the main hotbed of anti-government forces and radical groups that had survived the war. The province unofficially supported by Turkey, it contacts with the militants. For Ankara is the possibility to restrain the Kurds, whose region of support of the American people and the ability to not allow the Syrian army to advance to the Turkish border.

Нові переговори щодо Сирії: біг по колу чи натяк на прогрес

Around Idlib province on the agreement between Putin and Erdogan in Sochi in September of this year, established a demilitarized zone. 15-25 kilometers, the parties were supposed to withdraw heavy weapons. However, the militants not only did not lay down their arms, and at least three times attacked the positions of Syrian troops. Turkey despite promises, was never able to fully control the radical groups.

Mazen Bilal, political expert:

It is very important that Dlba problem was solved by peaceful means, such as the agreement on the demilitarized zone. Then Syria will be able to avoid new victims, given the huge human losses and material losses, which country suffered more than seven years of war.

Russia’s military intervention helped to stay in power Bashar Assad. However, for Moscow to retain influence in the region was worth the considerable financial and military investment. Now the Kremlin does not want to be involved in the post-war reconstruction of Syria. According to UN estimates, the restoration will need at least $ 250 billion. Destroyed infrastructure, businesses, entire towns and even farmland.

David Basel, the representative of the world food programme:

The war has forced farmers to flee, destroyed the water system, and for them it is a disaster. This compounded the effects of drought. We need all the help. Most importantly, these people were able to survive to have a future.

Russia urges to actively participate in the restoration of the West. Europe reluctantly responds to that. Because convinced, in large-scale destruction and loss of such a number of civilians to blame Assad’s forces and Russia. For a democratic Europe of stability in the region is impossible under the rule of Bashar al-Assad. Germany hinted – will help Finance, only after free and democratic elections in Syria.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany:

Overcoming the conflict by military means. It can only be a political process under the auspices of the United Nations.

Нові переговори щодо Сирії: біг по колу чи натяк на прогрес

France insists on a transition period. This item was one of the conditions the arrival of Emmanuel Macron to the summit. Offer Paris – to remove from power of Bashar al-Assad in this transitional period. But the Syrian President, who with the help of Russia and Iran regained control over most of the territory, not too reluctant to cede power. Besides, it supports a significant portion of the population. For many, it was he who defeated the terrorists “Islamic state” and brought peace to the region. The Kremlin is convinced that the removal of Assad will lead to a new division of the country. So, an alternative candidate who could unite the different regions of Syria yet. The country may once again be a field for political and military confrontation.


Michael Prudnik, Time: results