The Syrian civil war, seven years on

Published 07.09.2018 22:22

The point reached after seven years of the Syria issue is embarrassing in the name of humanity. For all the world to see, a country and its people have been torn by a civil war. This war has been in the interests of global and regional powers. They have joined this war through direct intervention, proxy wars or intelligence services. And the result is deep destruction and a bloody picture.

And the picture is appalling. Half-a-million Syrians, mostly civilians, have been massacred so far. In Syria, with a population of 22 million, millions of people have lost their houses and cities which have been bombed, burned and destroyed and many have become refugees. More than 6.5 million refugees, including almost four million in Turkey, have taken refuge in countries across the world. There are 800,000 Syrian refugees in the camps near the Turkish border alone.

The last stop of this bloody picture is Idlib. The Assad regime, Russia and Iran are preparing for a big operation. One of the major and effective mediators in this process is Turkey. Turkey has been working hard both to prevent a civilian massacre and to keep the reasonable Syrian opposition in play. Recent statements and attitudes of the players indicate that Russia and Turkey have come to an agreement on Idlib and that a potential operation will be aimed at the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which has been declared a terrorist organization by Turkey.

This is what Turkey wants. What kind of a consequences this effort will have will be seen in the aftermath of Friday's trilateral meeting in Tehran.

Meanwhile, the U.S., another global player of the Syria equation, is also in charge.

Turkey and the U.S., who are on the same page, that is against conducting an operation in Idlib, have accelerated talks in recent days. Apparently, however, this will not bring a positive result for the future. This is because the United States' position in Syria has always been against Turkey and is based on a deep account about the region, with one pillar being the security of Israel and the other being the destabilization of Turkey and Iran. For this reason, the U.S. has seized the domestic tension in Syria, which broke out in 2011, as an opportunity. It was Assad who started the civil war, but it was the U.S. which intensified it and extended it over the years. Then, other states came into play.

Of course, Syria is not regarded as Syria alone. It has many dimensions, such as for its Mediterranean energy and the division of the region through ethnic structures via the PKK-linked Democratic Union Party (PYD) axis and threatening Turkey and Iran through this. All this indicates that the tension in the region will not simmer down in the coming period. Due to the plans of global forces, things have grown into a stalemate in Syria. It is not known how the new Syrian constitution will be and whether the integrity of Syria will be preserved. There are some clues, but they are yet to emerge via grounds of discussion. The long-discussed Dayton Model and several autonomous and cantonal regions are being discussed.

Other major questions are Turkey's military presence on the Afrin-Jarabulus line, which will pit the Assad regime and Turkey against each other, and what kind of a role Turkey-backed Syrian opposition will undertake. The next step will not be easy, however, even the current state of affairs is better than more people dying.

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