THERE is a glimpse of hope in the possibility of Syria exiting from the whirlpool of killings, destruction and displacement, due to the talks that are currently ongoing in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
If these talks are managed in a proper manner, and if every concerned party tones down the conditions and demands that are impossible to be met under the current field situation, Astana undoubtedly will represent a significant turn towards peace in Syria and the return of the displaced.
After about six years of civil war, it is clear that the opposition is not in any position to settle the conflict in its favor, especially with the kind of division and utilitarianism that dominate its factions.
In addition, the opposition cannot keep the areas that it controls, particularly since it continues to experience gradual abandonment by its allies due to the overwhelming extremism that coats majority of its factions and has led to emergence of terrorist groups, which pose threats to various countries worldwide.
Regarding the regime, it has managed to remain under the umbrella of its allies that helped it to retake control of the towns and villages that it had lost, as well as the military and security aspects, overseas diplomats, central bank and the entire economy.
All this became possible with the open support of Iran and Russia in this regard and that of several sectarian militias led by Lebanese group “Hezbollah”. There is no doubt that this clique considers the Syrian conflict as a matter of life or death due to which it will never give in. However, the people of Syria are the only ones who are paying the price by facing murder, displacement, destruction and impoverishment.
Arab reference is needed for Syria to be able to escape from the tunnel of war through the Astana talks, and to help stop the civil wars in Iraq, Libya and other Arab countries that had fallen victim to the so-called “Arab Spring” when some political forces in those countries attracted maniacs into their countries to kill, destroy and provoke chaos.
People rallied behind the zeal and slogans that were known to be impossible to achieve. If only Syrians had stuck to their own chaos, it would have sufficed.
Everyone has to acknowledge the fact that Bashar Al-Assad has not been toppled yet. It seems the European countries have realized this fact and have started opening communication channels with Damascus as a preliminary step towards reviving relations under the pressure of the refugee crisis.
Furthermore, a change of mood in the US politics is being seen following the failure of the Obama Administration not only in Syria but in the Middle East as a whole. This was what helped Donald Trump win, with his friendship towards Russia and with a completely different vision concerning the Syrian file.
For about two years or so, there have been talks regarding choosing a moderate armed opposition in Syria. To this day, neither the US nor the European and Arab countries that support the Syrian revolution have announced any of the factions. In addition, the opposition, which has been touring five-star hotels, has not yet decided on a single standpoint.
Even those who signed the first Geneva agreement, which could be the guideline for the Astana talks, can no longer hold any land. The opportunity in the current situation needs to be grasped, or else Syria that we know will never exist again either geographically or with its Arab identity.
The displaced and migrant Syrians should return to their country and start its construction. After that, they can decide the type of state they want and their leader.
This is the natural right of every Syrian, and of every nation that is led by regimes that are worse than the current Damascus regime but did not opt to destroy their countries in order to change their regimes.
The opposition that will participate in the negotiations in Astana must be flexible and should relinquish the slogan of “Fight until Death”. Without this, the misery will exacerbate, and will eventually lead to Syria being wiped off from the map.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times