Th, 1.06.2023
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Editorial: No end in sight with war in Syria. Relief, if lucky

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As Syrian ceasefire was signed, journalists cited anonymous political sources as stating the treaty was not worth the paper it was written on. Takes optimism and lively fantasy to imagine that end is in sight for the war of five years. But there may be some relief.

Meanwhile, not a bad sign that the international observers and Russia, USA and UN said yesterday that overall the ceasefire has held. At that, the observers have been restricted on location and opposing sides are accusing one another in infringements. An important indicator will be whether humanitarian aid is managed to get in, and whether airstrikes and other attacks will cease against civil population.

But even with the ceasefire successful according to what was agreed, ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s local branch Jabhat an-Nusra, still remain against whom the fight goes on. The landscape being confusing and the payers many, the Assad regime and its supporters Russia and Iran are able to justify their attacks against the moderate opposition by claiming they attacked or at least intended to attack the extremists. This we have seen since the fall, and during the days between the signing and the entry into force of the ceasefire. Even now, it is unclear who Russia was hitting from air this weekend.

While waiting for an end to the humanitarian catastrophe and people fleeing Syria, good to recall what triggered the civil war. It was resistance to the dictator Bashar al-Assad. This dictator opted to suppress the resistance by violence and from that time over a quarter of a million has perished in Syria. In 2013, by using poison gas against his population he crossed the red line set by Barack Obama but the step went unpunished. Millions have fled to neighbouring nations and a clear minority of that has reached Europe. Sitting on our turf here, we have gotten accustomed to calling it a refugee crisis. The moral, however, is in that a success by Mr al-Assad at retaking the Syrian territory will hardly halt the people fleeing and it is of little likelihood that the Syrians already escaped will gladly go back under the power of Mr al-Assad. The refugee camps will be here for a long time and obviously the desire to reach Europe.

The matters are made no better by Turkish conflict with the Kurds in Syria. Because the latter have been the strongest, over the years, to stand against the advance of ISIS. Having been supported by the West but left without it, they have now turned to Russia. Already, they are talking to the world thru their recently opened representation in Moscow.

We are a far cry from a stably peaceful Syria, and when it does come some day, the result will hardly correspond to the Arab spring kind of dream of democratic order.

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