Hope of Ending Syrian War
Syrian opposition during a conference on unification, which took place in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), has agreed on the composition of a delegation, which will act as a united front in negotiations with the Syrian authorities in Geneva in 2016. It will consist of 15 opposition members.
The patrons of the Syrian opposition in the Islamic world were pushed toward negotiations by the successes of Russian military operation carried out at the request of the legitimate authorities of Damascus. The main objective of the meeting in Riyadh was achieved - a united delegation of formal opponents of Damascus which would come to the table with the current Syrian leadership was succesfully formed.
In an adopted declaration the opposition said they would negotiate with the regime about the transition process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué from June 30, 2012. This emphasis was placed on the fact that "President Bashar al-Assad should leave his post at the beginning of the transitional period."
The opposition also noted that the settlement in Syria can only be political, in accordance with UN Security Council decisions, and should be accompanied by international guarantees. They recognized "the need to preserve the unity of the country and its public institutions, the restructuring of security forces and army." The declaration stresses that "Syria will remain a secular pluralistic civil state. Rights of all religions and ethnic groups will be equally provided."
Delegates spared the question of concluding a truce with the government forces, earlier provided by the Syrian crisis settlement "road map", launched in Vienna on 14 November by Syrian International Support Group. The document assumes that the process of negotiations between the opposition and the authorities will lead to a new government emerging in Syria, and soon after th the adoption of a constitution and holding elections.
US Secretary of State John Kerry annonced plans to convene the next round of Syriain settlement negotiations in New York on December, 18.
Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Science Academy Vitaly Naumkin is sure that "the New York meeting, is likely to be postponed." The problem is that "some very important people were not invited to Riyadh, like some of the moderate opposition members from Russia, Qatar and France" and this can not be ignored.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that he would be ready to participate in the New York talks only if there will be real prospects of a single opposition list to be agreed, and based on it a political settlement must be found. A list of terrorist organizations currently acting in Syria should also be comprised at the meeting.
Earlier, Moscow gave partners in the negotiation process their own proposals on a possible list, including 38 representatives of various groups. However, until now Russia and the US have failed to find common ground, and couldn't agree on a list of terrorist groups.
Moscow considers "terrorist organizations" such groups as "Ahrar al-Sham" and "Jaish al-Islam," whereas Washington sees them as participants in future negotiation process. Leaders of Saudi Arabia, who participated in the making process of "Syrian Support Group" together with Russian Federation and United States shares the position of Washington. At a conference in Riyadh, these groups were represented at the highest level. Meanwhile, the Russian proposal to include the representatives of "Democratic Alliance" party, a key political force of Syrian Kurdistan, in future negotiations was not supported.
Patriotic factions of Syrian opposition, uninvited to Riyadh and refused to participate in the conference convened there, held their own forum in Damascus under the motto "Inner Voice of the Motherland". The final statement of its participants to UN special envoy states that "conference in Riyadh aims to turn out the true voice of Syrian population from participating in the politics. This approach will inevitably suffer a crash."
Russia is doing a lot to stop the war in Syria, and it is recognized even by the Americans. Head of US Department of State press service, John Kirby admitted at a journalist briefing that "Moscow was one of the first to apply efforts aimed at strengthening the diplomatic process on resolving Syrian crisis." He stressed that Russia helped in the drafting the final resolution of the Vienna process. "Russia helped raise more than 18 Arab countries and EU together in one room and agree on the basic principles, such as understanding that ISIS militants (Daishev) are obliged to leave Syria and the transitional political process should be lead by Syrians themselves," - he said.
So, we can assume that the political process has begun. Will it stop the war in Syria? We can't be sure, but at least now there's hope.