Finding a way forward in Syria is proving to be of the utmost complexity following the Syrian opposition’s walkout of the peace talks, despite the surge in violence and the grave humanitarian crisis.
In the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat, columnist Ahmad Mahmood Ajaj said the proposal by the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to keep Bashar Al Assad in power in the interim, brought the Syrian revolution back to square one.
“He should be thanked for that, because recent developments have turned the revolution from the uprising of a people demanding freedom, to a crisis plagued with extremists or terrorists,” he wrote.
“The repercussions of Mr de Mistura’s proposal on the internal cohesion in Syria and on international solidarity may be dreadful, alongside the alarming risk of continued and indefinite bloodshed in Syria.”
He described Mr de Mistura as a mediator between two parties who are on an equal footing on the battlefield.
“He is looking to find a compromise that will lead towards a solution to the crisis. His proposal stems from the desire of the Americans and Russians to close the Syrian file. It also reflects the failure of regional influence on Mr Al Assad,” he added.
Regional positions are clear, namely those of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, in addition to that of Turkey, which believes that allowing Mr Al Assad to stay in power would be wrong and dangerous for their security.
“They will therefore vehemently oppose the international trend and hinder any such settlement.
“All eyes are on the Syrian opposition and its ability to understand the international and regional conjectures and to build on them to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, though the opposition has been incapable of any achievements in practice. It has been hesitant, incapacitated and indecisive.”
Ajaj described the High Negotiations Committee, the body created by the main opposition coalition to represent their interests in the peace talks, as “an indispensable political tool in the region” because it not only represents the will of the Syrian people but will also be decisive in determining their fate.
Writing in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, columnist Yassin Al Hajj Saleh remarked that the Syrian conflict was distinct from other revolutions and civil wars.
“It is definitely not anything like nearby conflicts such as the wars in Lebanon and Iraq, nor Israel’s war on the Palestinians. Throughout the past five years, this war has not given Syrians the chance to breathe, to take a look around and check on their neighbours or evaluate their own situations. Basically, it has not allowed them to mourn and move forward because not one day has passed without more victims.
“At some point, we need to mourn, to say goodbye to those who have gone and to reconcile with our losses, to begin the healing process, whether as individuals, families or even the whole country. We cannot begin to mourn when we are still suffering losses.”
Instead of the killing stopping and the killer being punished, what has happened is exactly the opposite. The families of the dead are trying to find an exit from their tragedy, even without any guarantee that the killings will stop.
“This is the true meaning of the Geneva talks. The danger in this lies in the fact that on top of the horrifying number of victims and the fact that they died for nothing, the sacrifice of Syrians is deprived of all meaning,” the writer added.
“The Syrian conflict may reflect a monstrous era where violence prevails internationally. What we urgently need is to put an end to this path, to provide a way to mourn for the victims and to punish the criminal, to reach a place where peace is peace and war is war – to reach justice.
“This is something we can, we must and we should work on achieving, today and always.”
Translated by Carla Mirza