It’s uncanny that the guns in Syria have mostly gone silent, thanks to the ceasefire agreement that began on Monday and was still in effect as of Thursday. But humanitarian aid is still largely not getting through to those who need it most.
The divided and tormented city of Aleppo could especially benefit from access to humanitarian relief, but the habits of setting up roadblocks almost everywhere along the highways of Syria have deeply rooted themselves.
Syria is the nexus for a whole series of regional and global conflicts. On the plus side, neither the United States nor Russia wants a wider war. As for Turkey, it could have exercised a stronger hand years ago, but its leaders are hostile to both the Assad dynasty and much of the opposition, particularly the Kurds.
Now, however, two presidents with propensities for bullying, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have found a rapport with each other. Mr. Erdogan may be mostly preoccupied with his own country’s fraught politics, but the Turkish armed forces have been near the Syrian border throughout – even if the Turks are having a hard time delivering aid, much like the other powers.
As for U.S. President Barack Obama, he would be happy to leave office having contributed some progress, or some hope of mitigating or ending what may be the 21st century’s worst war so far.
The fact remains that a consensus between the Assad family’s Alawite regime and the moderate rebels, themselves a wide range of militant groups, is not in sight. And then there is Daesh, also known as ISIS. None of the world’s other Muslim politicians want to subordinate themselves to its tyrannical regime. The Assads and the more or less moderate Syrian opposition agree on that, and not much else.
The faint, ultimate hope is that Syria will eventually stop being a place where the main domestic product is violence, the leading import is armed men, and the only export is refugees. So far, the ceasefire has merely frozen the country’s conflicts, not ended them.Report Typo/Error
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