Syrian peace talks: negative signs

(VOVworld) – The UN Security Council has approved a resolution on a cease fire in Syria, mediated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. It paves the way for a peace talks scheduled to take place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, late this month. The cease fire suggests a consensus among the Syrian government, opposition forces, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, but experts warn that differing political aims could impede the peace talks.

Syrian peace talks: negative signs - ảnh 1
UN Security Council's meeting on Syrian peace talks (photo: TASS)

Since the cease fire took effect in Syria, claims of violations by both sides have made many observers skeptical about peace in Syria.

The crux is sectarian disagreement

Abu Mohammed, a commander of a rebel group in northern Aleppo who signed the cease fire, said they want Assad to resign and the Assad regime to end. He said they will return to the battlefield if the Astana agreement asks them to reconcile with a regime that killed about 300,000 civilians and didn’t care about the Syrian people’s wishes. About 60,000 of an estimated 80,000 rebel fighters are abiding by the cease fire. The rebel groups, who are mainly Sunnis, have been fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and establish a new government.

Their intention is not only to change the government leader but also to balance power among factions in the government apparatus. During the 40 years of the Assad administration, Syria was under the management of a government led by members of the Alawite sect, an off-shoot of the Shiite. The interests of the Sunni community, which accounts for about 70% of the population before the war, have been ignored. The cease fire is said to prepare for a presidential election, but it does not call for an end to Alawite control. Some sources say a close sub-ordinate of Assad will replace him. Observers say Iran, a close ally of Assad, has set a condition to allow the Alawite families to stay in power.

Numerous opposition forces

Another challenge to the cease fire is the large number of militia groups in Syria. About 54 groups are operating in the south, and about 60 are active in the north and west. Several groups have connection with groups in Turkey trying to bring Kurdish and ISIS militias back to northern Syria. Cease fire compliance by more than 100 different armed factions is a lot to expect.

The Jabhat al-Nursa extremist group, which has connections with Al Qeada, is another obstacle to the cease fire. Syrian opposition forces say al-Nursa should be part of the cease fire, but the Syrian government and Russian media rejected the idea. Al-Nursa has allied with Syrian opposition groups. This relationship will be a challenge to Russia and Turkey’s efforts to isolate al-Nursa and provides a reason for the Syrian government to continue fighting.  

Despite President Bashar al-Assad’s optimism about the peace talks, analysts say the cease fire will not hold because not all parties are committed to ending the war.
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