The long civil war in Syria may be winding down. Experts say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is winning. For years, there will still be Insurgents. They will continue to fight in the countryside. The totals after five years of war:
- Five million Syrians driven out of the country
- More than a quarter of a million people dead
- Half a million children trapped and starving
Syria is in ruins. It also has no money.
Big decisions by the US and Russia made a difference. President Obama was against Assad. He supported the Syrian rebels. He was against Islamic terrorists. Still, the US did not lead the fight. An opening for Russia was created.
Russia supported Assad. President Putin said it would fight the Islamic terrorists. Instead, Russia bombed the Syrian rebels.
Iran also came into the war on the side of Assad. Iranian Shiite fighters killed the Syrian rebels. Iran-backed Hezbollah forces worked alongside the Syrian army.
The one thing everyone agreed upon was that the Assad regime would not survive. A peace process would see him removed. Now, even that looks like it was wrong. Mr. Assad may remain after some kind of peace.
Europe wants the war to end to stop the flow of migrants. But the migrants will keep coming if there is no rebuilding. An expert said, “So Assad stays there, and the Russians and Iranians prevail. But they govern over a half-dead corpse. Syria is just this gaping wound that stretches as far as the eye can see.”
Many think the US ceded its influence to Russia. And Turkey and Saudi Arabia may not be players in the future of Syria. All the countries in the region are thinking about whom they should ally with.
One looming question is what will President-elect Trump do? Many expect him to focus on the Islamic State and not on Syria.
The rebels have not given up yet. But they have a dilemma. Thousands are dying from war and deprivation. The battle for Aleppo seems to be coming to an end. The conflict between Shiites and the Sunni majority population will continue.
Do the rebels continue to fight or do they give up to let aid start coming in?
The choices are narrowing.
Source: The New York Times November 28, 2016