Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Development in Syria

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Syria which has been on a slow burn for some time has now entered a new phase. The US has formally recognized a coalition of Syrian Opposition Groups as the country’s legitimate representatives. On the eve of an international conference in Marrakech, President Barack Obama said that the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary & Opposition Forces has become truly representative of the Syrian people. These words will doubtless boost the morale of the Syrian rebels. However, extremist elements such as Jabbat al-Nusra have been isolated as Washington has called them terrorist bodies. In the continuing civil war in Syria, the US is not committed to offer military support to the rebels. Some may say that the recent US action is too little and has come too late but it puts pressure on Bashar al-Assad to accept defeat. So far, about 40,000 people have died in shoot-outs in the country. Damascus, the capital is a battlefield. NATO has deployed patriot missile systems along the Turkish border of Syria. US intelligence reveals intensified activities at Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. The international community should not turn a blind eye on the events. Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation have granted recognition to the National Council. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing arms to the rebels.

The UN is inactivated by repeated vetoes by Russia and China. Sanctions have not yet been imposed on Assad’s regime. The Friends of Syria Coalition is having a meeting with India as a participant. Foreign Ministers of 70 countries will discuss how to resolve the conflict. Russia has stayed away and expressed surprise at the US partisan attitude. One hopes that Moscow and Beijing will see reason. Otherwise, rebel efforts to cobble together a united front will go up in smoke. The recent US decision may however ultimately seal Assad’s fate.

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