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'Critical Phase' of Syrian War Comes to an End

© REUTERS / Omar SanadikiPeople walk past a billboard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government controlled area of Aleppo, Syria December 17, 2016
People walk past a billboard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government controlled area of Aleppo, Syria December 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
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The devastating Syrian crisis, which has lasted for nearly six years, is almost over, Burak Bilgehan Özpek, Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara, told Sputnik.

"In general it is safe to say that the war, at least its critical phase, has come to an end," the political analyst said.

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Burak Bilgehan Özpek also commented on a recent meeting of foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran who discussed ways to resolve the Syrian conflict through joint efforts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later called this cooperation the most efficient framework to bring lasting peace to the war-torn Arab country.

According to the expert, the trilateral cooperation will have a major impact on Ankara's strategy with regard to Syria.

"By becoming a part of this trilateral mechanism, Turkey has committed itself to discuss any initiative pertaining to the resolution of the Syrian crisis solely with Russia and Iran. In such a way Turkey has indicated that it refrains from cooperating on Syria's future with the European Union, the United States or NATO," the analyst said.

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The analyst emphasized that Turkey needed a powerful stakeholder with regard to Syria. For some time Ankara was closely working with the United States in this area, but this cooperation did not yield the needed outcome.

"It looks like Turkey has refrained from carrying out an independent policy when it comes to Syria, letting another country do it. Until 2016 the United States was that partner. Instead of pursuing its own strategy, Turkey volunteered to conduct a policy of a powerful country from outside of the region. This policy was less costly for Ankara and the Turkish leadership thought that it could succeed. Ultimately, Turkey failed to receive what it wanted from this alliance," the analyst explained. 

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Burak Bilgehan Özpek suggested that the Syrian crisis could come down to two areas.

"The Syrian crisis could largely turn into a fight with Daesh and a standoff with the Kurds. I don't think that the conflict with the Kurds will become more acute since Kurdish representatives have repeatedly said that they were ready to come to the negotiating table," he said.

After the war is over, Bashar al-Assad will control all of the country, the analyst noted, adding that the Kurds will be granted more powers.

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