11:10 GMT18 January 2021
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    Russia has initially had a more "pragmatic and realistic" approach to the Syrian conflict than the West, expert at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies Stephan Rosiny said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk.

    According to him, Moscow has a better understanding of the civil society in Syria. The Russian government had known from the very beginning that the conflict in Syria involves not only the official government and the opposition, but various Syrian communities.

    "I would say Russia proved to be more pragmatic — and in a way more realistic — from the very beginning," the expert stated.

    "They [Russians] have better understood this extreme, in particular the confessional-ethnic, fragmentation of Syrian society. Because there is a conflict not just between the regime and the opposition, but also between different communities. And for some of these communities Bashar al-Assad is still the guarantee: not only the guarantee to remain in power, but possibly also the guarantee for survival. And that, in my opinion Russia recognized better," he said.

    According to Rosiny, Moscow is interested in an agreement with the West to resolve the situation in Syria. For Russia, it is clear that "a military solution — is not a solution," however, the West has no clear position on this issue.

    On the one hand, the West has always sought to overthrow the current Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad. On the other hand, it now understands that Assad's overthrow would only lead to the continuation of the civil war.

    In Rosiny's opinion, the West could achieve progress on the resolution of the issue only through "realistic discussions" with Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
    It is worth mentioning that Turkey as many other countries has always shown harsh rhetoric against the Syrian leadership. It repeatedly intervened in the internal situation in Syria and supported the radical armed groups inside the sovereign country.

    "Such techniques have never been used in the political tradition of the Turkish Republic, this behavior is not befitting a serious self-sufficient state," influential political scientist and an expert in the field of security Sedat Laçiner said.

    Now, however, it seems that Turkey is aiming for a sharp turn heading for reconciliation with Syria. Ankara has decided to change its foreign policy approach to the Syrian conflict after Russia and Turkey recently restored their relations broken as result of the incident with the Russian Su-24 fighter jet.

    "Ultimately there will have to be a political solution of interests. And, in my view, this is also an important step toward the resolution of the conflict that all sides recognize the interests of the other side. So far, no one has done it, it was just said: the Syrian people, whoever it should be, is free to decide what it wants. But there are no Syrian people as such. And that's why one can't back out, but one rather should ultimately have realistic negotiations with Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in order to come to a common solution," Rosiny said.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. The West has long been focusing not on fighting terrorist groups but on overthrowing President Assad. However, gradually the US and other Western countries gave up their ultimate goal and gave priority to the fight against Daesh. In early 2016, Russia and the United States managed to negotiate the ceasefire in the country that took effect on February 27.


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