The Russian Masterpiece in Syria: Everyone Wins - By Federico Pieraccini
“Moscow and Damascus have always
maintained they are against any form of partition or illegal foreign presence
Moscow has managed to maintain contacts
with all parties in the conflict, even in spite of its stance against partition
and illegal foreign presence. Trilateral talks between Iran, Turkey and Russia
occurred in Astana at Moscow’s urging. Putin managed to bring together in Sochi
the Syrian government and opposition groups to discuss the future of Syria. In
Geneva, Moscow mediated between Damascus and the international community,
shielding Syria from the diplomatic skulduggery of the US and other enemies of
solely as a result of its defeat in Syria, now finds itself in active dialogue
with Moscow and Tehran. As Ankara experiences worsening relations with
Washington and other European capitals, Moscow saw a great opportunity to bring
Turkey closer to Damascus.
operation was complicated and required a lot of patience; but thanks to
negotiations supervised by Russia, together with the bravery and courage of
Syrian soldiers, almost all of the terrorist pockets scattered around Syria
have been progressively overcome.
than the Idlib province, the main problem for Damascus lay with the US
occupation in the northeast of the country, under the pretext of protecting the
Kurds (SDF) from the “Assad regime”, as well as to “fight Daesh”.
currently finds himself boxed in, squeezed in by a collapsing economy,
threatened by his allies (the purchase of the Russian S-400 system irritated
many in Washington and in NATO): he desperately needs to present some kind of
victory to his base.
may be the primary reason behind Erdogan’s decision to move into Syria under
the pretense that the YPG is a terrorist organization linked with the PKK —
proceeding to create a buffer zone on the border between Syria and Turkey and
declaring “mission accomplished” to boost popularity ratings.
Trump, he is desperate to shift attention away from the impeachment proceedings
(a hoax), and similarly needs to present some kind of victory to his base. Why,
what better way to do this than with a mini withdrawal of US troops from Syria,
leaving the Kurds to their destiny (Trump’s care factor regarding SDF is
minimal, as they are more connected to his political opponents in the
Democratic Party), while claiming victory over Daesh for the umpteenth time in
with a handful of tweets directed against the Pentagon’s “crazy spending” and
America’s past wars, finds himself and his base giving each other high fives on
their commitment to the doctrine of “America First”.
and Trump have also solved the embarrassing internal conflict within NATO
between Turkey and the US, probably reestablishing personal relationships (the
tough talk from the White House notwithstanding).
The agreement between the Kurds (SDF)
and Damascus is the only natural conclusion to events that are heavily orchestrated
by Moscow. The deployment of Syrian and Russian troops on the border with
Turkey is the prelude to the reconquest of the entirety of Syrian territory —
the outcome the Kremlin was wishing for at the beginning of this diplomatic
and Ankara have never had any opportunities to prevent Damascus from reunifying
the country. It was assumed by Moscow that Washington and Ankara would sooner
or later seek the correct exit strategy, even as they proclaimed victory to
their respective bases in the face of defeat in Syria. This is exactly what
Putin and Lavrov came up with over the last few weeks, offering Trump and
Erdogan the solution to their Syrian problems.
will state that he has little interest in countries 7,000 miles from the
homeland; and Erdogan (with some reluctance) will affirm that the border
between Turkey and Syria, when held by the Syrian Arab Army, guarantees
security against the Kurds.
has no doubt advised Assad and the Kurds to begin a dialogue in the common
interests of Syria. He would have no doubt also convinced Erdogan and Trump of
the need to accept these plans.
agreement that rewards Damascus and Moscow saves the Kurds while leaving
Erdogan and Trump with a semblance of dignity in a situation that is difficult
to explain to a domestic or international audience.
Moscow has started joint
patrols with the Syrian Arab Army on the borders with Turkey for the purposes
of preventing any military clashes between Ankara and Damascus. If Ankara halts
its military operation in the coming days, Damascus will regain control of the
The world will then have
witnessed one of the greatest diplomatic masterpieces ever conceived, responsible
for bringing closer the end of the seven-year-long Syrian conflict.