The Syrian Civil War Report By Robert Ford – Analysis and Summary

Syrian Civil War Report Summary

After eight years of military activity the Syrian war is finally on the verge of culmination with the imminent withdrawal of American forces from the country and the reestablishment of government control in a significant portion of the country. The Assad government aims to control of the portions of the country still controlled by the forces of the opposition with the support of Russian and Iranian forces. Meanwhile, the Turkish forces are attempting to promote a lasting ceasefire between members of extremist Islamic opposition groups and the Assad government. Negotiations about the portions of the country that are still in the control of the Americans and the Turks will not be forthcoming for many years. American response to the Syrian crisis is under question as they failed to provide adequate incentive for the Assad government to negotiate with the members of the opposition due to their limited military effort that did not match that of the Iranian and Russian forces that had come to aid the Assad government.

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The war is estimated to continue for a few more years and eventually stop leaving an economically broken Syrian nation that might never crawl back up to economic stability and will consistently rely on foreign aid. This will be exacerbated by the numerous economic sanctions imposed on the country, the destruction of infrastructure during the eight years of fighting and the estimated cost that would be incurred while attempting to resettle all the refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Moreover, Syrian refugees have no incentive to return to their homeland as the Assad government has no interest in facilitating the speedy return of its citizens, has refused to provide them with humanitarian aid and has even appropriated land belonging to these refugees for private development.

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Syrian Civil War Report Analysis

The success of revolts in Egypt and Tunisia encouraged the Syrian public to carry out peaceful demonstrations to protest the abuses among security forces and to demand an end to corruption in the Assad government. The government responded to these protests with brutality by shooting at and arresting the culprits. This response sparked a conflict that would last for almost a decade, with issues such as; discontent in the response of the government during the drought of 2006 that lasted four years coming in to play to inform the protests in the Shantytowns on the outskirts of Damascus. By the autumn of 2011, the insurgence had seized control of several neighborhoods in a number of cities and towns to which the government responded with an escalation in military activity in these areas leading to an outbreak of civil war in practically the entire country.

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In 2012, the opposition lost its momentum due to the dwindling state of manpower and financial resources which led to the stalemate witnessed from 2013 to 2015. Due to the prolonged nature of the war, western nations, the Turks and a few Gulf states, responded to the crisis by urging the warring parties to come to a consensus that involved creating a transitional government through providing the armed opposition with material support in order to mount pressure on the Assad government to agree to negotiations. However, the government responded to this by accepting the aid of the Russian and Iranian forces with the Iranian government deploying tens of thousands of Shi’a militants in to Syria and the Russian government by, providing combat air support which led to the establishment of a Russian no fly zone over Western Syria in 2016. These actions enabled the Assad government to gain an upper hand in the war and recapture all of Western Syria. American forces then shifted their focus from the arrival at negotiation to the removal of ISIS forces from Eastern Syria which they succeeded in doing and eventually established a no fly zone over Eastern Syria to the East of the Euphrates. However, these efforts appear to have been misguided as they did not translate to the arrival at a consensus from the Syrian government which still insists on regaining its control over all of Syria and eventually kicking American and Turkish forces out of the country. Moreover, the United States has been shut out of negotiations involving the United Nations and key players including Turkey, Israel, Russia and Iran which have been facilitated by Russian diplomacy. These negotiations aim to reduce military activity on the ground which will facilitate the Assad government’s efforts to recapture the areas still controlled by members of the opposition. The American government can only seek to convince the PYD/YPG forces to abstain from arriving at a separate agreement with the Syrian government which would make even their minimized presence in the country impossible.

The key players involved in the Syrian crisis according to the report are; Iran which seeks to ensure the survival of the Assad government in order to provide strategic depth to their backing of the resistance front against Israel, Russia, which seeks to prevent the loss of the Assad government which has served as the country’s only Arab ally. Turkish forces are also a key player although their interest in the war has shifted from seeking to ensure the success of the opposition to preventing the establishment of a Syrian Kurdish entity in the border between Turkey and North East Syria. The non-Jihadi and extremist Jihadi opposition also comes in to play with the non-Jihadi opposition mainly serving as a proxy of the Turkish forces due to the military protection provided to them by these forces. The Jihadi opposition (HTS), has complete control over Idlib and the Assad government is not likely to recapture Idlib from them due to the strong capacity of their military.

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According to the report, the cost of rebuilding the Syrian economy is estimated to be between 200 and 400 billion dollars, an amount which is way above the reach of the Assad government. The economy of the country might therefore fail to recover from this crisis and the country is likely to continue depending on aid from foreign and neighboring states just to stay afloat. The challenge of dealing with the resettlement and aid of the Syrian refugees is likely to remain with the International community for an extended period of time as well as the prevention of their recruitment in to extremist groups and their protection from the hostility that will arise in the nations that are currently offering them refuge such as Lebanon and Jordan. The American administration should abandon its anxiety to declare victory and remove its forces from Syria until it has facilitated a consensus between the opposition and the government. It should seek to be included in the negotiations so as to ensure that the problems that led to the current state of affairs in Syria are dealt with conclusively so as to prevent a recurring of civil war. America should also reconsider its policy on imposing economic sanctions on Syria after the culmination of the war in order to facilitate the country’s efforts to rebuild its economy

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