The Ankara Summit between the Presidents of Russia, Iran, and Turkey aimed to tie up the loose ends of the Syrian conflict and advance a political solution to the long-running war. This gathering of some of the Mideast's most powerful figures was preceded by the completion of Turkey's military operation in Afrin and the liberation of Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). These unsynchronized but simultaneous developments drastically changed the state of affairs in the country, just as Daesh's official defeat did as well, which was announced by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev on behalf of President Putin at the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) that was held in the middle of this week.
Despite the noticeable progress that's been made in the country, a few major obstacles to peace still remain, and those are principally the unresolved situations in and near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the southeastern city of al-Tanf, the so-called "de-escalation zone" in Idlib, and the Kurdish-American occupation zone in northeastern Syria. This latter part of the country has taken on particular prominence in recent days as Trump curiously signaled to the world that he was contemplating a full-scale withdrawl from the region but then later threw in a caveat that US troops might remain if Saudi Arabia or someone else foots the bill for their deployment.
Speaking of the Kingdom, its Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman earlier announced that he acknowledges that President Assad will remain in office but expressed hopes that he will distance himself from Iran in the future. Riyadh isn't the only regional power interested in the US military presence in northeastern Syria, however, since France said that it will deploy troops there in support of the Kurds, which could potentially lead to Paris replacing Washington if the US wraps up its operations there like Trump supposedly promised. Altogether, it's evident that the Syrian battlespace is changing in both stabilizing and destabilizing ways, but the common thread connecting it all is that the anti-terrorist phase of the conflict is largely over.
The future is always hard to predict, let alone when trying to prognosticate what's going to happen next in a dynamic war such as Syria's, but there's a high likelihood that the Multipolar Tripartite of Russia, Iran, and Turkey will jointly concentrate their efforts on implementing UNSC Res. 2254's mandated "constitutional reform" in seeking the most peaceful solution for tying up the conflict's loose ends and bringing a sustainable peace to the Arab Republic.
Ray Hosseini, Half Iranian/half Japanese and was born during the 1979 Revolution in Iran, and Smaine Djella, Assistant Professor of political science and international relations at the University of Algiers, Algeria, joined our discussion.
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