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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightA ray of hope in...

A ray of hope in Syria?

A ray of hope in Syria?

The Syrian civil uprising began in March 2011 as minor protests against the autocratic president Bashar al-Assad and soon turned into massive anti-government opposition demonstrations and later into an armed rebellion and a civil war.

The unrest was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions in the same year against the despotic governments in Tunisia and then in Egypt and later spreading through the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings. Assad refusing to meet the demands of the protestors, hit back aggressively giving orders to crush the dissent and resulting in hundreds of casualties. The latest reports from Ankara and Moscow hint that the war in Syria is seemingly reaching a dreadful end. Assad obstinately continues to be in power and is likely to hold on to his position till his last breadth. This would be possible as long as he receives military support from Vladimir Putin’s Russia who is backing the Syrian dictator purely for personal motives without any humanitarian consideration or righteousness. Therefore Russia entering a general ceasefire agreement with Turkey, which earlier said that it was impossible to reach peace in Syria with Assad in power, might sound a bit absurd to the rest of the world. The ever changing equations of International politics also lend credibility to the reports of ceasefire plans in Syria.

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, which had been held by the rebel factions, was completely freed by the government forces with the help of Russian air strikes. Russia has now succeeded in pursuing Assad for a ceasefire deal in the war-ravaged region. Turkey Foreign Minister has also confirmed that the rebels have agreed to a compromise with Assad still in power. If the ceasefire agreement is realised, peace restoration talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, with the support of countries like Russia, Iran and Turkey, is anticipated to take place. The priority, now in Syria, is not removing Assad from power. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov said that Russia, Turkey and Iran have joined hands to work towards a peace deal and to act as "guarantors" of any future settlement between Syria's government and rebel fighters. This clearly means that Russia brands not only Islamic State militants as terrorists but all those who stand against Assad. Turkey’s stance on the matter has so far been different. The country backed the anti-Assad rebels along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The opposition group also received the support of the US. However, the scenario changed abruptly. A military coup attempted against the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was suppressed by the people in the streets. The situation worsened further.

Erdogan had accused Fethullah Gulen, the US based cleric and his former ally, as well as the US, to be behind the attempted coup. While the allegations strained the relations between Erdogan and Obama administration, the ties warmed up between Erdogan and Putin who is not in good terms with the US. This might have inevitably led to the change of stand in the Syrian issue. Turkey and Russia equally condemning the US for extending support to the Syrian rebel forces reinforces the fact. The Turkish president said that he has uncovered evidence that US-led coalition forces have helped support terrorists in Syria including ISIS. While the view that the US fostered the growth of Da’ish to weaken and destroy the Middle East prevails, Erdogan’s argument cannot be rejected as baseless. It’s the civilians including innocent men, women and children, who bear the brunt of such ruthless wrongdoings of big powers. Around 4.5 lakh civilians have been killed, 10 lakh wounded and nearly 1 crore 20 lakh civilians displaced by the Syrian war. There should an end to this humanitarian crisis. It’s the time for the Turkish president to prove his justifications that they weren’t thinking about changing allegiance and were striving for a healthy equilibrium between Russia and the US. The world continues to pray and hope for a ceasefire and restoration of peace in Syria.

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