2 August 2012, 21:54

Are outside forces to blame for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria?

Are outside forces to blame for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria?
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Russia will not support the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly on Syria submitted by several Arab countries and put to the vote on the 3 of August.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that this document revises the peace plan of special envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States Kofi Annan and puts all responsibility for the situation in the country on the Syrian authorities. Thus, the document encourages the opposition’s uncompromising armed struggle against the Syrian government. In addition, the draft resolution contradicts the UN Charter.

While passions are seething in New York, three million Syrian citizens are in need of humanitarian aid and basic food. There is still no light at the end of the tunnel. On the contrary, the situation is developing according to the worst scenario which could result in an armed operation against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In this case Syria will face a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe which will affect the entire region. UN experts are expressing grave concern. According to forecasts, the number of starving people in Syria will grow 1.5 times within six months. Another million people are in need of agricultural aid: they need seeds, fuel and livestock fodder. If Syrian agriculture is not supported, people’s chronic malnutrition and spreading of infection will become the ‘norm’, which could have unpredictable results. The main aim today is to spare no effort to stop the hostilities, expert Irina Zviagelskaya from the Institute of Oriental Studies believes.

“There is no alternative for a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria if the hostilities continue. Syrian people have been living an abnormal life for a long time. The situation in the country has developed into a full-scale civil war. The opposition is supported from abroad bit it is not clear what the people who could capture power in the country would do and whether their policy would be balanced and taking into consideration specific features of the Syrian society. So far, no efforts of the international community have yielded any results. I believe that the only option is to persuade the conflicting sides to establish an interim government with the participation of both the ruling regime and the opposition, which would be supported by the majority of the population”.

As if to add to the humanitarian crisis inside Syria, the situation around the country is also alarming. The prospect of foreign interference in Syria’s affairs is gaining weight. It seems that Washington and its allies in Ankara prefer this prospect to anything else. According to press reports, the US and Turkey are rendering all kinds of aid to the Syrian opposition, including financial support and arms deliveries. The units of the Free Syrian Army, an uncompromising radical force, are stationed in Turkey. Ankara is also trying to play the ‘Kurd card’. It has threatened to bring troops into the border areas of Syria if bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party appear there. This party is banned in Turkey. However, al-Assad’s enemies among the Turkish political elite are probably in for an unpleasant surprise. The Turkish society could give a cool reception to the country’s leadership’s plans concerning Damascus. The first warning came from the Workers’ Party of Turkey which demanded deporting the US General Consul in the city of Adana from the country for ‘masterminding and leading the activities of Syrian terrorists’ who oppose al-Assad’s forces. One of the leaders of the party, Hasan Basri Ozbey has also urged the government to close the US Incirlik air force base in Adana and the camps of Syrian refugees where, he maintains, Americans train thousands of terrorists. These protests have been voiced at a difficult moment for Turkey, political scientist Stanislav Tarasov says.

“Several days ago, the ruling tandem of the president and prime minister disintegrated. Notwithstanding his initial plans, the prime minister has declared that he would run for the presidency. This means a split in the country. Turkey is facing a serious political and maybe even a geopolitical crisis. Hence, the demand of deporting the consul from Adana and taking a tougher attitude toward the US policy in the region, as well as realising that Turkey has become an instrument in a very serious geopolitical struggle The situation is complicated and it is clear that the country has entered the period of destabilization.”

We cannot rule out that the opinion of one of the main Turkish opposition parties which has taken a firm stand of non-interference in Syria’s internal affairs will get a positive response from the majority of Turkish people and will become another serious headache for the country’s current leadership.

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