MURAT YETKİN > Will Syria be a better country?

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The “Friends of the Syrian People,” a group of countries formed last year to shape a post-al-Assad Syria meet today in Morocco for its fourth meeting, which could turn into a critical one, mainly because of two reasons.

First, the stage of the civil war in Syria gives the impression that the Bashar al-Assad regime has been making its last efforts to keep itself up. The latest statement on that belonged to the German foreign intelligence service (BND), which implied that the days of the regime might be numbered. The Turkish government has had the information for weeks now that considerable parts of the country are out of Damascus’ control now. On the other hand the extension of the civil war and disorganized nature of the rebel forces have caused a radical Islamist group named al-Nusra to emerge and start fighting with the rebels supported by the Friends of the Syrian People as well. Kurdish secessionist factions have already started to fight on behalf of the al-Assad forces; the whole thing could turn into chaos.

Secondly, the winds in international politics have started to change further against Syria. There have been a series of interesting developments over the last 10 days. Russian President Vladimir Putin for example said in Istanbul in a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 3 that his country was not an advocate of the al-Assad regime. It was important for Russia as the country (with China) that had vetoed any U.N. resolution on Syria three consecutive times. The next day his spokesman told journalists in Asghabad that Turkish and Russian diplomats could start working on some new ideas, followed by Ankara sources saying that Turkey and Russia had agreed to work on a new Syria plan. On Dec. 7, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.N./Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met in Dublin on Syria and endorsed the July 1, 2012 Geneva consensus on a transitional government in Syria between Russia and the West. The next day Lavrov spoke again and said that it would be wrong to assume that Russia’s position on Syria was changed, further confusing people.

The question on Russian minds could be what kind of a transitional government to end the civil war in Syria will be proposed by the FSP conference in Morocco. Turkey, France and a number of countries think that it should embrace elements of al-Assad’s Baath party in order not to have the Iraqi situation once again, plus protect minorities’ lives and rights considering the furious rise of Sunni Islam in the country after being oppressed for decades.

A newly established Syrian National Coalition will be represented at the Morocco conference. And if the outcome of the conference will satisfy both the opposition and parts of the Syrian government now, Russia and the FSP group, then there might be a chance for an answer to the question in the title, asking whether Syria would be a better country after al-Assad.


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Blue Dotterel

12/12/2012 8:11:10 PM

Is Libya a better country? That's your answer.

sid solo

12/12/2012 7:26:45 PM

Will Syria better country? Are you kidding?

adam adel

12/12/2012 11:44:19 AM

The ironic part is that many of these extreme groups are supported and used by Turkey, Al-Nusra went deliberately to Kurdish populated areas like Ras al-Ayn and drew Assad’s attack on the village. Unarmed kurdish demonstrators protested their presence, they shot in to the crowd and killed many, YPG retaliated, they withdrew back to Turkey came back armed to the teeth and attacked again but were defeated. How can Turkey involve itself with these groups and complain about terrorism?

adam adel

12/12/2012 1:52:57 AM

Mr Yetcin can you please inform us who these secessionist kurdish factions are who are fighting for Assad? I moniter Syrian news quite closly and have never heard of any kurdish party demanding secession, all the kurdish groups in Syria agree on democracy and federalsim for Syria, none of them have ever mentioned seperation. And all the clashes involving Kurds have been by these extremist groups like al-nusra and in every case they have attacked kurds first, please don't report rumors

joe Maddin

12/12/2012 1:41:21 AM

The Syrian coalition is groomed not to be a governement in exile but just a credible opposition and partner in coming negotiations with the Syrain governement.
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