Search This Blog

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Safe Zones in Syria

Russia, Turkey and Iran signed an agreement today to set up four safe zones inside Syria.  The areas are not clearly specified although they are generally defined in areas currently controlled by rebel forces.  The zones are to be no-fly areas and they are also to be places to which the refugees can move.

This sounds promising, but there are still major problems with the deal.  First, the Assad regime did not sign onto the deal.  If Russia and Iran are seriously supporting this deal, they can easily get Assad to consent.  Second, the rebel forces also did not sign onto the deal.  This could prove more problematic.  For example, if any of the areas are controlled now by Kurdish forces, they will surely not accept the presence of Turkish or Iranian forces to guarantee the peace.  The other rebels will also not be likely to accept Iranian "peace keepers".  It is possible that all of this can be worked out, but it is way too soon to celebrate.

Although the USA is not part of the deal, President Trump should get some credit for fostering conditions under which the deal was reached.  The missile attack on the Assad forces after their chemical weapons attack on civilians in rebel territory made clear to everyone that the USA would no longer stand by and watch genocide in Syria.  Assad may not have realized it, but both Russia and Iran understand that their puppet Assad will no longer have the ability to terrorize civilians in order to win the war.  It made it clear that the cost of continuing the civil war was going to be much higher than previously.

No comments: