No durable peace in Syria without Turkey

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Today the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia come together in Tehran to discuss the never-ending civil war in Syria and the fate of millions of Syrians who are victims of Assad's atrocities.

Turkey started the peace process for Syria by bringing opposition groups in the country to the negotiating table at Astana. Yet this happened nearly 18 months ago and since then the peace process has only yielded gains for the murderous Assad regime while the opposition has been left empty handed.

The opposition groups were told the peace process would yield a temporary cease-fire followed by a permanent cease-fire and then zones of no-conflict and that is what has happened. However the process has not brought peace but instead has been used by Assad to grab large chunks of Syria and thus massive advantages against the opposition groups.

Of course the fact that the opposition groups have been weakened is also due to the fact that they seriously lack unity and solidarity. They are fragmented and have created their own tiny groups with different agendas and thus they have not been able to provide a solid front against Assad.

On the other hand, Assad bolstered by Iran's land assets and Russian air power and his use of chemical weapons has punched his way into opposition strongholds and hence massive gains for the Damascus regime.

However, you still need moderate opposition groups who represent the Sunni suffering masses in Syria to achieve a viable political solution and durable peace in this country. Iran and Russia are the fighting forces in Syria and have brought blood and tears. Turkey has introduced the element of peace and dialogue that has commenced with the Astana process as well as a series of summits between Turkey, Iran and Russia that will reach a peak in Tehran today. So it is really the efforts of Turkey that will bring a viable political solution to the Syrian issue.But this means Turkey has to offer some dividends for the opposition groups and this means Russia and Syria have to do some hard work to achieve this. We have to show opposition groups that these three countries did not toy around with them in the Astana peace process.Russia and Iran as well as the United States have to address Turkey's security concerns in northern Syria.

The Americans and the Russians addressed the security concerns of Israel in southern Syria by allowing them to establish a security zone 40 kilometers deep and also push Iranian forces away from the border areas. Thus the Russians and the Iranians have to come up with some kind of arrangement that will push PKK-linked terrorists away from our border areas.

It is because of security concerns that Turkey launched the "Euphrates Shield" and "Olive Branch" operations to secure chunks of land in northern Syria, pushing Daesh and the PKK away from our borders. Yet we also need to secure our border areas located east of the Euphrates River in Syria, where the terrorists bolstered by American support are dominant.

The Tehran summit can produce peace and reconciliation in Syria or it can deepen the mess created by endless bouts of violence mainly instigated by the Assad regime.

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