Kazakhstan, surprisingly announced that it would stop hosting talks aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict in its capital, Astana, which raised questions about this step, and its repercussions in the next stage.
The announcement came while the delegates of the guarantor countries (Türkiye, Russia, Iran) were concluding the twentieth round of talks, which greatly influenced by the Quartet meetings on the process of building dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.
The basis of Kazakhstan’s decision was that the talks that began in 2017 had achieved their purpose, but according to facts the political solution in Syria way too far.
Syria currently is de facto divided into 3 regions;
The first is the one under the control of the Kurds “Syria Democratic Forces” and the “Democratic Union Party” PYD.
Türkiye classify these two forces as the Syrian branch of the terrorist Kurdish workers party, PKK.
At the northwest, mainly in Idlib there is “Hay’at Tahrir al Sham,” HTS (formerly known as al Nusra Front) is the main armed group, in addition to the “Syrian National Army” that controls large areas in the countryside of Aleppo, under Turkish administration.
The rest of Syria is under the control of the Syrian government.
And if there is a breakthrough, the aforementioned three spheres of influence must be reconciled.
For example if two regions come together, this will put pressure on the third region.
Ugly truth is Syria to remain in a state of stalemate… If there is an agreement between the Syrian government and the Syria Democratic Forces, this will be encouraged by the Russia, accepted by the Gulf States, and even tolerated by the United States.
Brett McGurk, who currently handles Middle East affairs at the US National Security Council, wrote an article in Foreign Affairs in 2019, in which he said that the war in Syria wouldn’t end as a result of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, but rather through an agreement between the Kurds and Damascus.
Although estimates differ, the Syria Democratic Forces have approximately 50,000 fighters who have been trained and armed by the United States, and could form the backbone of the regular Syrian army.
However, the various discussions that took place between the Democratic Union Party and the Syrian authorities didn’t result in any breakthrough.
Meanwhile, there is a second possible direction, through the extension of the Astana talks.
The foregoing revolves around a Turkish rapprochement with Damascus, as the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s offer reconcile with Assad, however Assad considered his offer just for electoral purposes.
The Turkish public mood was growing increasingly against the Syrian refugees, and the opposition was blaming Erdoğan for the problem and saying that he was preventing their return because of his bad relationship with Damascus.
One of the main election promises made by Erdoğan’s opponents before last month’s presidential and parliamentary elections was to guarantee the return of refugees through negotiations with Damascus.
While Erdoğan wanted to remove this argument from the opposition’s possession, he declared that he was ready to meet Assad for the sake of peace in the region
Curently things seems to be put on the shelf.
The Syrian president, as he owns anything valuable, he always had a hardline position on the Turkish presence, stipulates any meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the Turkish withdrawal from north and northwest Syria.
Everyone who realize the Syrian dilemma knows that Assad’s conditions are separate from reality, and completely far from the facts.
No surprises, this is the same situation that made him disconnected from reality during all the years of the Syrian war that destroyed his country, and he himself wouldn’t have survived had it not been for the Russians and Iranians help, and he’s now sitting as if he brought victory himself to put the conditions!
In this matter, this is completely unrealistic, if the Syrian government army attacks Idlib, this will lead to a new wave of refugees that Türkiye cannot absorb, while the international community also doesn’t want to see a new wave of refugees.
Even, do any Syrian government army full-scale attack aim to retake Idlib, cannot be done without Russian military support.
Finally, and in case of an agreement in northeastern and northwestern Syria, which is equally difficult for simple reason that Türkiye doesn’t feel the need to make any concessions to the Kurds.
From the Turkish standpoint, Ankara don’t have to make concessions to a weaker opponent, and also it doesn’t trust the PKK/PYD, believing that they will back down on their promises when they get the chance.
And for this deal to happen, the United States must step in and make a deal with Türkiye, a deal that gives Ankara and the Kurds security guarantees.
In addition, here, we need to remember that the United States itself beside its military presence in Northeastern Syria still controls the area of al Tanf in the eastern Syria.
The deal must include, according handing over of the Democratic Union Party its heavy and medium weapons.
The local council, which controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, must be democratically elected to ensure that it represents the diversity of communities and reduce the influence of the PYD.
In order to ensure that these changes maintained, the international monitors must be deployed, and Türkiye must open its borders and allow the waters of the Euphrates to flow.
As for the Syrian government, they in Damascus need to be more realistic, and perhaps this is the duty of Both Moscow and Tehran.