Four years on, no end to Syria’s suffering

Four years on, no end to Syria’s suffering
5 min read
14 Mar, 2015
Comment: From the relentless war and the suffering of the Syrian people to paralysis on the international level, no end is in sight. The future only holds more war and suffering.
Syria is in a state of security and military chaos [Halil Fidan/Anadolu/Getty]

As we approach the fifth year of the revolution, opposition forces lack communication and coordination amongst themselves and each faction is engrossed in its own battle as if it was the only battle in the war.

The regime has taken advantage of this situation by opening different fronts and implementing various strategies that rely on several groups of fighters. Strategies such as truces, containment, siege and the scorched earth policy are employed by the regime using the remnants of the regular army and a host of militias carrying various names. This is in addition to the fronts on which the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are leading the assault and others led by Hizballah, Iraqi and Afghan militias.

Lethal narratives

In this complex scene, is there a glimmer of hope for the Syrian revolution in its fifth year?

Therefore, in its attempts to hide any trace of a revolution, the regime has come up with a number of categories for the conflicts that suit its narrative. In the east it is fighting the terrorist Islamic State group (IS). In the north it is fighting al-Nusra Front and the agents of Turkey, while in the south the regime is fighting a war against Israeli agents who are planning on creating a buffer zone. Where is the revolution and the revolutionaries in this map?

In this complex scene, is there a glimmer of hope for the Syrian revolution in its fifth year? How can we even discern what the future holds when the scene is so complicated we can barely make out the features of the situation in Syria?

The geopolitical aspect has become a main factor in the conflict between the revolution and the regime and has caused the many interests in the region and beyond to overlap and thus for interested parties to ally against the revolution. Perhaps these parties were enticed into becoming embroiled in the Syrian crisis due to their belief that they can find a way out of their own crises through their Syrian involvement, crises that reached their height with the start of the Syrian revolution.

Furthermore, the Assad regime had given these parties a wide margin of manoeuvre that reached to the point where these parties were running battles and applying pressure on regional countries. This led to an increase in the imbalance in favour of a regime that had already prepared itself for years to deal with this kind of confrontation with the population.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that the regime has not accounted for the future of its support bases, as for the regime, they merely represent wave of people to be used to break the revolution. It appears that these support bases are like other groups that live under Assad’s control, hostages that have no say or weight to pressure the Assad regime into a truce or negotiation.

It is in this bleak scene that the Syrian revolution crosses into its fifth year driven by what remains of a population that still adamantly hopes for salvation, rebels spread out on different fronts who despite their fatigue remain effective, and an intellectual elite that still dreams of a different Syria and still believes that victory will be achieved. However, are these factors enough to ensure the continuation of the revolution, especially since the revolution faces a fierce attack led by Iran and its operatives, with resources that could be sufficient to challenge major powers?

Compounded damage

Whether we like it or not, the revolution has left a trail of damage in the heart of the regime. Further, the regime currently lives in a state of security and military chaos, which are fault lines that could deepen within its structure. Furthermore, the military support from Iran and Hizballah will not revive the regime or reconnect it with Syrian society, as these operations are merely cosmetic and limited to specific locations with the aim of buying the regime more time.

As the war has become geopolitical in nature, betting on international and regional variables becomes legitimate.

As the war has become geopolitical in nature, betting on international and regional variables becomes legitimate, as the other side is certainly doing the same and justifying its attempts to stifle Syrian rights with a host of useless excuses. It becomes apparent here that given Iran’s brazen challenge of regional interests and its attempts to control the rules of the game, which has forced the world to change its position and policies toward Syria, it is likely that this will create a confrontation between the Iranian project and the projects of other countries. Here, a new regional bloc is forming in opposition to Iran, which will definitely translate onto the reality of the ground in Syria.

In the fifth year of the Syrian revolution, one cannot foresee the developments through any way except the endurance of the Syrian people. For the past four years they have endured through unprecedented waves of violence not seen outside world wars, therefore the only bet can be on the ability of the Syrian people, who have been and are still able.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic website.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.