The defeat of ISIS in Syria, the change in Turkey’s approach towards the Syrian government, and clearing most of Syria’s important and sensitive regions of terrorists, the growing legitimacy of the Syrian state at international level and the travel of Sudan President Omar al-Bashir to Syria are signs of the beginning of the political process in Syria. Bashar al-Assad has also shown that he is willing to cooperate in the political process to completely end the Syrian crisis.
Obviously, in the political process, the Syrian opposition whose do not have the Syrian people’s blood on their hands must participate in the process of outlining the constitution in order to prepare the ground for lasting peace in Syria so that the political system will be shaped with the maximum participation and support of the people based on the general interests of Damascus.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey as guarantors of the Astana format held a trilateral meeting and consultations with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva on 18 December 2018.
At the end of the meeting, a statement was issued which said the parties agreed to take efforts aimed at convening the first session of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva early next year.
Although the UN representative stated that the constitutional committee does not have the necessary balance and likened formulation of a new constitution for Syria to a marathon, but the current trends reinforce the hope that the political efforts of the three countries as guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria will yield results in a not too distant future.
Meantime, last week, American media also released an important news report about Washington’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria. The decision, apparently taken by Trump, was met with opposition from the Pentagon and led to the resignation of US Secretary of Defense James Mathis. Other actors in the Syrian case, such as the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia, are also opposed to this decision. Most of the foreign analysts also interpret the withdrawal of US forces from Syria as a great victory for Iran. Donald Trump said that he had issued an order for the withdrawal of 2,000 US troops from Syria, arguing that the United States has succeeded in defeating ISIS in Syria and the Turkish government was able to oust ISIS from other areas of Syria. This American action and the intentions behind it should be carefully monitored, analyzed and interpreted.
But this fact cannot be denied that the United States has not followed steady goals and stable strategies since the beginning of its presence in Syria, and compared to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia, and Turkey, Washington has not been able to exercise much influence on Syrian military and political trends; therefore, the withdrawal of American forces from Syria should be interpreted as admission by the US authorities on the defeat of their schemes in Syria.
In case of US withdrawal from Syria, the important question will be that after the American military pullout, who (which actor) will fill the vacuum of power that will be created in the areas under the influence of US in Syria? Would it be the Syrian Army alone, or the Resistance Forces, or Russia, or Turkey, or ISIS which is after a comeback, or even France which claims its intervention in Syria would be under the pretext of supporting unprotected Kurds? Each of these scenarios will have different political and security conditions for Syria.