Will the Truce in Syria Hold?!

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 7 May / May 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

By the fourth of next month, the major influencers; Russia, Turkey, and Iran, should finish drafting the detailed mapping of the conflict free and safe zones in Syria.

According to the recent Astana accord, this should include, as well, a draft for joint operation.

Supposedly, there should be eight safe zones in eight different Syrian governorates.

The purpose of safe zones is to secure numerous conflict free zones, excluded from all aerial and land military operation.

Hopefully, this would ensure the safe and easy movement of residents and humanitarian aid, in addition to relocating immigrates back to Syria, if possible, all the while making sure this does not interfere with the anti-terrorist operation, mainly Nusra and ISIS.

Spectators and monitors consider the Astana accord last week a major diplomatic breakthrough, sparked by Russo-American understanding.

These understandings entail an agreement on the establishment of safe zones, an earlier US suggestion, rephrased and reformulated by the Russians.

Notably, the Russian’s suggestion in accordance to the interests of several stake-holding parties.

This development was bridged by the phone call between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump.

Despite the “breakthrough”, the Syrian opposition at the Astana conference were not sound as thrilled when the Iranian delegation stepped in to sign the accord. The voice of dissent filled the hall.

Representatives with the Syrian opposition doubt the Syrian regime’s readiness to uphold the terms of the deal. They fear Iran will exploit the truce to expand their influence further.

Moderate opposition factions in Daraa, for example, one of the four areas included in the deal, will not tolerate any Iranian presence on petrol, checkpoints. or oversights.

The residents of Idlib too, will not tolerate them either, according to local officials.

Jordan, whose role in the Astana meets is restricted to monitoring, will support every international effort to reinforce the ceasefire in Syria, particularly in the south.

However, Jordan would rather be careful before announcing any official positions regarding the arrangements in Daraa; until every detail of the security maps and the identity of the forces in the field are disclosed.

Even though the signed arrangement and official Russian statements do entail the possibility for third parties, including Jordan, to partake in the safe zone operation, either as monitors, or peacekeepers, or both.

Regardless of the proposed formula, Jordan, has always maintained the position against getting directly, militarily involved in Syria.

Jordan would have to revaluate any participation, given the danger implied by our Army’s partaking in any scale of military operation in the Syrian depth.

Either way, the Astana accord remains an important step in the endeavour to establish a political resolution to the Syrian crisis.

On the one hand, this marks an unprecedented cooperative initiative, by Russia and the US, to expedite deliberations for the upcoming Geneva Talks.

That said, the perils entailed by the fall of the ceasefire still stand, and are imminent at any given moment.

Therefore, these next few weeks should put to the test every involved party’s readiness and ability to abide by the agreement and uphold its terms.

More so, it measures up the real Russo-American weight in the Syrian conflict.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.