01:31 GMT21 October 2020
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    The latest developments, including the recently-held parliamentary elections and battlefield successes, show that Bashar al-Assad is on the rise, French writer and lawyer Olivier d'Auzon asserted. Some might say that the Syrian president has managed to survive against all odds.

    Indeed, the Syrian Arab Army has been on a roll for several months, most notably liberating Palmyra on March 27. Since that major battlefield victory, the SAA has focused on securing the larger Damascus area, as well as the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia and Homs. At the same time, Damascus has continued to modernize and reorganize its armed forces.

    "Should Damascus-led forces take [the city of] Aleppo under control, all 'useful Syria' will be freed" from Islamic extremists, d'Auzon wrote for Le Huffington Post. Aleppo is the largest city in the country.

    A member of the Syrian government delegation holds a bag picturing the Syrian national flag after a meeting with United Nations Syria envoy on Syrian Peace Talks on April 18, 2016 in Geneva
    © AFP 2020 / FABRICE COFFRINI
    A member of the Syrian government delegation holds a bag picturing the Syrian national flag after a meeting with United Nations Syria envoy on Syrian Peace Talks on April 18, 2016 in Geneva

    It is against this backdrop that the latest round of the indirect peace talks has taken place in Geneva. The negotiations, launched on April 13, have largely focused on political transition, governance and the new constitution in Syria.

    The latest developments have provided favorable winds for the government representatives at the Geneva table. Their negotiating position remains strong, while one of the main opposition groups, the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC), "appears weakened," d'Auzon added.

    The HNC has suspended its formal participation in the negotiations, while other opposition groups remain committed to finding a political solution to the years-long conflict that has claimed more than 250,000 lives and displaced over 11 million people.

    The next round of the Syrian peace talks is expected to be held in May; no specific date has been set yet. But d'Auzon believes that the real negotiations will take place between Moscow and Washington, the two key sponsors of the Syrian peace process.

    Bashar al-Assad, according to d'Auzon, is "counting on Obama's pragmatism." The Syrian president is hoping to reach an agreement with the Obama administration, not the next US president. He also hopes that Washington could force Turkey and Saudi Arabia to stop supporting rebels.

    Ankara and Riyadh have long provided assistance to radical groups that are fighting to remove al-Assad from power and establish an Islamic caliphate in the Arab country, much to the discontent of the international community.

    This process is ongoing. On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that al-Nusra Front militants kept arriving to northern Latakia from Turkey.

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    Tags:
    Syrian peace talks, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, Syrian Arab Army, Bashar al-Assad, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia
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