The imminent full liberation of the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor will likely deal a death blow to Daesh, and all sides are now scrambling to prepare for what happens next. UNSC Resolution 2254 from December 2015 mandates that the Arab Republic must undergo constitutional reform and hold new elections, but this is a lot easier said than done. For starters, Syria already reformed its constitution in 2012 and held its last presidential election in 2014, but the international community was split over recognizing the results and the UN Security Council therefore found it fitting to order that Syria redo these processes in order to ensure a lasting solution to its years-long war. This was a controversial decree in and of itself, but one which Damascus nevertheless agreed to abide by, though the opposition is now split over how this should proceed, and has yet to even unify its positions.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are trying to assemble the disparate anti-government groups into a single front for facilitating peace talks, constitutional reform, and new elections, but one of the problems is that the American-aligned PYD Kurds haven't been integrated into this process mainly due to Turkey's sensitivities that it would legitimize a group which Ankara views as terrorists and a front for PKK separatists in their own territory. Moreover, some of the Kurds' political demands are very unpopular with the other opposition groups, such as their insistence that Syria "federalize", so even if they were theoretically brought into a unified opposition front sometime in the future, it's unlikely that this would allow the anti-government groups to make any substantial progress unless the Kurds compromised, which is looking ever less probable. The reason for this pessimism is clear, and it's that the Kurds have the direct military backing of the US through America's roughly ten bases and hundreds of troops in northeastern Syria.
The Battle for Deir ez-Zor has brought this to the forefront of the War on Syria as the Syrian Arab Army and the Kurdish-led "Syrian Democratic Forces" come into close and tense contact with one another in northeastern Syria. Even though Daesh is on the brink of defeat, the War on Syria isn't yet over, but it's just taking on new and mostly political forms as all sides position themselves for the next phase of this New Cold War conflict.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Afraa Dagher, Syrian political activist and Nedka Babilku, Author, political analyst, and host on the weekly current affairs show 'Digital Divides'.
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