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For de-escalation zones to bring about stability

Jul 02,2017 - Last updated at Jul 02,2017

The recent policy decision to implement the establishment of de-escalation zones, whereby Syria is divided into separate areas where different groups are based, is the first concrete step towards maintaining the ceasefire and bringing about some stability in Syria as a prelude to ending the conflict.

The broader impact of the Gulf crisis is currently being felt in Syria as well. Since the boiling over of tensions with Qatar, there has been increased confusion among the fighting groups in Syria, which is working to the advantage of the Syrian army as it recaptures territories it used to control.

Public sources report a significant decline in military activity across Syria, including in Idlib, Deir Ezzor, Joubar and even Daraa. But the confusion is also being exploited by other players in the conflict.

Turkey’s ambiguous position suggests it is eager to have a role in any agreement, to exert control in the north of Syria and manage the risk it faces from the US-Kurdish alliance.

Turkey’s interest provoked Iran’s involvement, demonstrated by its missiles fired into Syria.

Iran will resist any attempt to diminish its influence in the conflict and any new government.

Continued Iranian involvement will then guarantee greater interest from Israel, which has also been launching attacks and raids against Syrian military posts.

The fighting in Syria was always complicated; now it is the place where regional tensions and conflicts are playing out.

The de-escalation zones have the potential to bring about stability and eventual ceasefire.

However, for them to be a success, greater international efforts are required, from countries not currently engaged in the conflict and that do not have a clear alternative regional agenda.

The current regional players in Syria are using it as a battleground for their underlying conflicts, and that clearly does not help stability.

 

The de-escalation zones create separate geographical territories where countries in the region can play a role to guarantee success, but they must act under the umbrella of the international community.

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