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Discomfort zones: a truce or partition Syria into spheres of influence?
Material posted: Publication date: 31-12-2016
Russia, Turkey and Iran are preparing to sign a deal on the division of Syria into informal zones of influence, reported Reuters.

According to Reuters, the agreement may be concluded between the three countries, will provide for the partition of Syria into areas controlled by the participants, and will determine the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. His powers can be curtailed, and he will remain in power until next presidential election — extraordinary or ordinary, which should take place in 2021.

Then Assad will give his post to the newly elected head of state, and he will receive guarantees of immunity for himself and his family.

"This agreement will make possible the existence of regional autonomy within Federation controlled by the alawites, to which Assad belongs, and is still in its infancy, may change and require the support of the Syrian leader and the rebels, and ultimately, the Gulf countries and the United States, said sources familiar with the position of Russia," writes Reuters.

The individual points of the future transaction (in particular, concerning the fate of Bashar al-Assad) is agreed only between Russia and Turkey, and their necessity has yet to convince Iran, the Agency reports.

How realistic are these forecasts?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. November 2016

In Syria cease fire

Three countries — Russia, Turkey and Iran, really are working together to resolve the situation in Syria and are preparing for a large-scale international negotiations on the Syrian issue. Confirmation of this was the statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, December 29.

"I just got the message that today a few hours ago, an event occurred which we have not just waited a long time, but the approach which worked. Signed three documents. The first document between the Syrian government and the armed opposition ceasefire in the Syrian Arab Republic. The second document is a set of measures to monitor the ceasefire. And the third document is a statement of readiness to start peace negotiations on the Syrian settlement," the President said at a meeting with heads of the foreign Ministry and the defense Ministry.

The President also supported the proposal of the Ministry of defence to reduce its military presence in Syria, but has assured, that Russia will continue to fight international terrorist and support in this fight the Syrian government.

As reported the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu, the ceasefire will take effect at 00:00 hours on December 30. The Minister noted that the agreement was signed by armed groups, the number of which exceeds 60 thousand people.

The Russian defense Minister, army General Sergei Shoigu during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin

The guarantors of the truce in Syria, according to Putin, are Russia, Turkey and Iran. Last week in Moscow of the foreign Ministers and defense Ministers of these countries discussed the situation in Syria and underscored the importance of the extension of the ceasefire in Syria, and also the readiness to become guarantors of the impending agreement between Damascus and the opposition.

Vladimir Putin urged the sides of conflict in Syria and all countries in the region to support the agreement on the ceasefire and to take an active part in the meeting in Astana. By agreement with the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, there will be peace talks on Syria. Preparations have also started Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The number of participants in those negotiations, according to Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at the subsequent stages can be expanded through the involvement of a number of key countries with influence on events in Syria — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt. Invitation to participate in negotiations and get UN. It may also join the new US administration — when President-elect Donald trump will assume his duties.

The US President-elect Donald trump with his wife Melania and son Barron before a performance in new York. 9 Nov 2016

A natural development of events

Such a development in Syria is quite predictable and logical, although initially it was logical to assume that the ways of settlement in Syria will be discussed between the two countries — Russia and Turkey. A section on spheres of influence, if he if he really planned, would occur at the positions occupied by units of the Turkish and Syrian government forces, says the head of the military forecasting Center Anatoly Tsyganok. At the same time, given that Iranian forces are cooperating with the Russian VKS, is quite justified and trilateral format, says a military analyst.

"The negotiation process which will start in January 2017 in Astana, needs somewhere to begin. It is not excluded that will be offered and the option of partition into spheres of influence. The connection to the negotiation of the new US administration is possible only if the United States really really involved in the fight against ISIS (banned in Russia), as it promises to Donald trump," says Anatoly Tsyganok.

A compromise between Russia and Turkey, in his words, it becomes possible due to the fact that lately Ankara has significantly changed the vector of its actions in Syria. She refused to support the rebels in Aleppo who were allowed to leave the city, and now, when Aleppo is freed, really the moment for starting negotiations.

In addition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more sharply accuses Western countries, including the United States, in destabilizing the situation in Syria and criticizes them for their passivity in the struggle against terrorism.

All this allows Moscow and Ankara to find a common language, says Gypsy.

There are tasks more important

Partition Syria into spheres of influence is not the primary task for the parties to resolve the situation in this country is convinced that another military expert, Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Evseev. The Russian-Iranian-Turkish cooperation is objectively necessary for the liberation of North-West Syria, the embrace of the militants in Idlib, where they came from liberated Aleppo, he said.

"After that, there are a number of issues. What to do with the area that Turkey occupies up to El-Baba? Many experts believe that Turkey will not go there ever, but it is clearly not suit many people, first and foremost the Syrian Kurds. What to do with themselves the Syrian Kurds, who are now trying to expand their territory, moving South, occupying the economically important locations such as hydroelectric power? This leaves open the question of federalization of Syria, against her continues to Damascus, which fears that she may be the first step to the disintegration of the country. Not yet solved all of these problems, to speak about the division of the country into spheres of influence, at least, is premature," — says Vladimir Evseev.

Skeptical as the expert and to the prospects of the declared truce. Even if it connects dozens of warring armed groups, neither the IG nor the "Dzhebhat EN-Nusra" (banned in Russia), nor any other of the most radical groups fighting will not stop and will only intensify.

The same view is shared by Turkish political scientist Aydin Sezer, who said that the truce may not be comprehensive, as it concerns only a moderate opposition.

Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the ceasefire agreement does not cover the armed groups included in the list of terrorist.

The Minister of foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu

Partition of Syria is already underway

De facto, the process of Syria's disintegration is already underway, and areas of influence can be much greater, the General Director and member of the Presidium of Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrei Kortunov.

The center of attraction of a Pro-Turkish opposition was al-Bab, and probably there is an agreement that the city will not become a target for air strikes from Damascus and Russian HQs. That is, in fact, formed a zone of Turkish influence in Syria.

In addition, according to the analyst, there can be area of the Kurdish forces. While she presented as separate enclaves, but if somehow you happen to moving and merging, there is a band of Kurdish territory in Syria.

There are Alawi center, including Aleppo and Latakia, which is controlled by Damascus, acting in cooperation with Russia there can be formed a zone of Russian influence.

Burned cars in the liberated quarter of East of Aleppo in Syria

Raqqa is under the control of the opposition forces, which support the Gulf countries — Saudi Arabia, Qatar.

The liberation of Aleppo opened the possibility of creating a land corridor connecting Iran to southern Lebanon, and it is of strategic importance for Tehran because it allows him to directly send weapons to Hezbollah.

"The partition of Syria into territorial zones of influence already happening, but unfortunately, it is accompanied by severe humanitarian problems. Establishing control over a territory entails cleaning the public for political, religious, ethnic grounds. As a result, large numbers of people forced to move from one place to another. It is also not clear where to return the Syrian refugees, when the time comes for their return," says Andrei Kortunov.

Vladimir Agaev


Tags: Iran , Russia , Syria , USA , Turkey

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