MIDDLE EAST

Syria: Is this the final chapter?

Assad’s forces and Iran’s militias are consecutively subduing cities and towns from East Aleppo to South ar-Raqqah as Russian jets and battleships in the Mediterranean Sea shell them to subjugate them.

The Syrian opposition, or whatever is left of it, is bravely fighting amid difficult circumstances after Iranian forces and militias in support of the regime assailed them. Meanwhile, the opposition has not received any aid worth mentioning ever since Turkish and Jordanian passages were closed.

The Syrian situation is at its worst as the impressive American stance to confront Moscow’s camp in Syria did not last long. The new French president adopted the worst French stance ever since the Syrian war erupted. In addition to all this, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has always been negative towards the Syrian people especially when defining who represents the opposition.

The Iranians and Russians succeeded in transforming the Syrian people’s cause into a battle against international terrorism while making use of the mistakes committed by the Syrian revolution’s allies, such as Qatar, which as usual did not estimate matters or the consequences of its actions well.

Most Syrian forces engaged in the fighting have nothing to do with terrorist groups or extremism. However, their presence alone and their media exposure were enough to turn them into a scarecrow at the expense of the Syrian people and their cause.

Iran also focused on targeting Daraa toward the Jordanian borders because it believes there’s a US-backed Syrian opposition plan to march towards Damascus later and impose conditions which include excluding Bashar al-Assad from power

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Multinational militias

Despite these dark circumstances, the Syrian regime forces, Iran’s military commanders and their multinational militias are still incapable of subjugating most of Syria and of guaranteeing the security of the areas they seized. However at this point, Iran is more interested in securing its strategic zones than in raising the Syrian regime’s flags over all Syrian areas.

This is why Iran is fighting in oil-rich areas in South ar-Raqqah. It is resorted to Iraqi and Lebanese militias to secure Syrian land passages with governorates in West Iraq to secure control over Iraq and ensure a long path from Iran’s borders in South of Iraq to Lebanon.

Iran also focused on targeting Daraa towards the Jordanian borders because it believes there’s a US-backed Syrian opposition plan to march towards Damascus later and impose conditions which include excluding Bashar al-Assad from power.

The Daraa Governorate has been a major battlefield as the Syrian resistance had seized control over it amid circumstances that surprised Damascus’ tripartite. Iran’s militias suffered huge losses there.

However, the recent political shifts sold the opposition’s victories and gave them away as the recent American stance backed down while confronting the Russians’ and their allies’ demands. American military support has been the best during the past six years but politicians let down military men in the recent agreements.

Amid this new American retreat, negative French stance, Gulf disputes and Turkish rapprochement with Moscow, the Syrian opposition is before a uniquely difficult situation. The bet now is on the Syrian regime’s failure to manage the areas it seizes control of because it lacks the tools.

The continuous help of Iran, Hezbollah, Iraqi militias and Russia will also strengthen the Syrian people’s objections as they will incite against it on the local and regional levels. Tomorrow, I will review the Saudi-Qatari dispute in Syria.

This article is also available in Arabic.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

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Last Update: Monday, 17 July 2017 KSA 09:17 - GMT 06:17
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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