Riad Dirar assesses the situation of 2021's Syria

Reportaj Summay

Riad Dirar assesses the situation of 2021's Syria
28 December 2021   03:33

Dirar confirmed that 2021 was looking for economic approaches, and pointed out that the situation in the so-called (de-escalation) zones awaits the Russian-Turkish agreements. He said that Russian-Turkish pressure on northern and eastern Syria would not succeed. During 2021, the Syrian scene was dominated by the mutual bombing between the Damascus government forces and Turkey's mercenaries in the northwest, and Damascus' control over the south under Russian pressure, in addition to Turkish attacks on north and east Syria, while the economic crisis deepened further.

 On this, our agency held a dialogue with the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, Riad Dirar, (SDC) during which he evaluated the Syrian events and developments in the year 2021. He also presented solutions according to the vision of the Syrian Democratic Council for the Syrian crisis, and sent a message to the Syrian people and the various political parties and international forces.

The text of the interview is as follows:

 * Another year ends and the Syrian crisis goes unsolved. How do you assess 2021 in general for Syria?

 Regarding opinions about the results of the year 2021, I think that the general atmosphere is the preparation of new files, and the direction of solutions towards the middle of the road. All solutions were based on approaches related to economic ideas, which have several faces.

 The most important of these aspects, what was agreed upon in the crossings agreement, on the issue of early recovery, an issue that contributed to opening more than one path for the regime to restore its Arab or international contacts, but these issues were raised in order to obtain a return, and it is not a solution path but a path  directing the solution, but the regime appears to be unresponsive because the military security mentality cannot change, and it may fall.

 Moscow has tried more than once to circumvent the issues in order to bring the regime closer to control and a solution. This was evident in the Daraa Agreement, which was overturned, which made the regime control Daraa more broadly, in addition to the expansion of militias and Hezbollah in the areas in Daraa, and thus to make the matters worse, we cannot consider this agreement, which was based on humiliating settlements, to be a realization of a solution.

 Moscow is also seeking to manage the file of northern and eastern Syria by putting pressure on the Turkish mediator, which continues to escalate, threaten and mobilize. This is an open matter, but it cannot succeed;  because the reality in northern and eastern Syria is different from Daraa, and therefore the management of the solution must be different, especially with the American presence, which has a different vision on the issue of the solution and consensus.

2021 was a year of sacrifices and clashes, but as for the NE Syria, it featured by focusing on the reasonable solutions. Especially after the conference of the Euphrates and Aljazira sons that bore fruit to a Body assigned with following up the corruption file and build all administrations that may come out with local councils elections which help correct the march of the administration.

* Eyes were focused on the remaining so-called (de-escalation) areas, but there was no field development in these areas.  Where do you think the problem lies in these areas?  Is the international conflict on the one hand and the competition on international roads linked to this knot, and what is the fate of these areas in your opinion?

 The de-escalation zones in the countryside of Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia are calm, because there is a dispute between Turkey and Russia about concessions from any party because any change will be affected by Turkey and make the regime win at the expense of nothing.

 Consequently, these areas also have a large number of displaced people from the Syrian interior if they are exposed to escalation and war, which could be reflected on Turkey first and then on the world, and this is what makes a kind of red line drawn by Europe and America in non-escalation, which helps in the steadfastness of these  region.

 The problem of these regions is that they are an Islamist ideology control that makes the solution in this region weak at the level of the Syrian vision. There are also factions linked to Turkey's agendas.

 There is also a separation between the political decision and the military decision;  Because the political forces can only control these areas in a formal way that does not lead to political solutions or agreements.

 Therefore, these areas are waiting for agreements. If interests and trade-offs are agreed upon between Turkey and Russia, control over them can change. If an agreement is also made between northeastern and northwestern Syria at the level of the opposition’s vision, there may be events other teams change pathes and confront the negotiating entitlements in a more balanced and beneficial way.

 This is a matter of the political mentality controlling these areas. So far, it seems that those in the region are comfortable with their control , but with this combination, we cannot guarantee a long future for this type of administration.

* In southern Syria, we saw that the escalation was prevalent. In Daraa, despite the previous settlements, the Damascus government forces stormed the area, and in As-Suwayda, the situation was closer to an explosion.  How do you evaluate the events there and what are their causes?  And what is the solution in your opinion?

 In the Syrian south - Daraa and As-Suwayda, there was no coherent controlling force.

 In Daraa, there was a breach by the regime-affiliated factions with ISIS, which always made things change in favor of the regime;  Because it spoils all solutions. It also moved to the outskirts of As-Suwayda to pressure its people.

 Something of that happened, but in As-Suwayda there is a vision and a decision that the regime will not have control over the issue of recruiting young people or in many issues in managing the region, but it is also governed by isolation and cannot be singled out in its decision, and the security authorities and some political authorities still have room to provoke unrest. Therefore, the people of As-Suwayda need real support to face every entitlement that could lead to chaos in the region.

 The people of As-Suwayda work to reach a solution that gives them a kind of self-rule. Therefore, I think that their communication with the project of the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria continues.

 * Damascus government forces are trying to gradually return to Deir ez-Zor province, by making settlements.  Beginning of what is the point of this?  In view of the results of these settlements in Ghouta, Aleppo and Daraa, what is the message that you send to the government on the one hand, and to the people of the region on the other hand, regarding this?

In Deir ez-Zor, we did not witness a major transformation after the elimination of ISIS. Many of its people were the sons of the revolution and fear the return of the regime.  There is fear and hope.

 The region needs rationalization and continuous aid. It needs a conscious political bloc capable of carrying the people of the region to more cohesion. It needs effective civil administration and councils, and it can establish adequate relations with all the people of the regions in north and east Syria, and take their needs adequately; Because it is an area full of bounties, its oil sources are sufficient to benefit from its investments and reconstruction. The people's endless needs require conscious, disciplined, and helpful local administrations to be able to make positive transformations.

 This matter depends on the people of the region first and also on settlements with the rest of the regions and understandings with the officials of the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria to give this region a real dimension that can contribute to the consolidation of stability and in strengthening the people of the regions for their steadfastness against the interference that is taking place, whether from the regime or from the Iranians who  They expand their influence through constant temptations in the region.

 Politically, 2021 witnessed several rounds of the so-called constitutional committee and the Astana process, but they failed, and the UN envoy Pedersen described the results as disappointing at the end of each round.  What do you think are the reasons for this failure?  What is the impact of this on efforts to end the Syrian tragedy?

Negotiating tracks in 2021 and the meetings of the Constitutional Committee indicate a continuous failure. The Constitutional Committee, since its inception, has been an attempt to circumvent the decisions in Geneva. It is also a time-stretching project until regain control over the region. Therefore the international game  Especially the Constitutional Committee, it is an attempt to circumvent all decisions. Therefore, it always leads to disappointment.

 The problem is that the opposition sees that this is the last thing in its hands, which makes it present on the scene through an international resolution recognizing the opposition, but this matter alone is not sufficient because international resolutions that recognize any force can end up with the dissolution of this force after the continuous paths of failure, and a decision comes for the international community to turn away from these confessions and these decisions. Therefore, in order to end the Syrian tragedy, the opposition must re-read the reality and positions, not to follow the plans of the controlling countries.

 The Syrian opposition, which follows Astana in its contacts or follows the Turkish opinion in its decisions, will not reach a result if it does not work with the rest of the Syrians.  A place of reliance, forces that can defend decisions, and a political vision that can be supported by the international community and that redraws policies anew.

 We are waiting for the opposition parties in the coalition and the negotiating body to become aware of this matter so that we can reach a new, internationally supported and confrontational path to draw all positive policies for a solution in Syria.

* In addition to these developments, the most prominent title of the Syrian file was the economic crises. Many agree that this economic crisis has political roots.  How do you evaluate that?  In your opinion, if an agreement is reached between Damascus and the Autonomous Administration, will this suffering be alleviated?  And how do you read the possibility of an agreement during the next year?

 With regard to the economic tragedy experienced by the Syrians, the reason is clear. The regime does not care about the Syrians under its control. There is a new force; war merchants and beneficiaries.  Therefore, in Damascus and the areas of the regime, it benefits a small group.

•           Any agreement that will take place between Damascus and the Autonomous Administration can be eased, but with the intransigence of the representatives of the regime, there can be no agreement first because the way the regime sees is to return as it was under its control and by subjugating it to others, the matter has changed and we must reach real understandings.

All paths to settlement and approaches to normalization with the regime, and even America’s silence on some moves, is to leave an opportunity to adapt to a solution on which new steps can be built based on amending the regime’s policy, but this matter appears to be long-term and may not come as a result, so the people will remain affected by what is happening.

 The American also seeks to preserve his prestige in his decisions, and therefore he always declares not to recognize Assad, which makes those who think about his fate in making changes in the course of the solution in which the Syrians participate less mobile and may also retreat at some point in the face of American pressure if this is not achieved.  What the American aims at, as we said, is the policy of amending the regime's tracks or amending the regime's policy.

 *During this year, the Turkish occupation continued its attacks on northern and eastern Syria, in addition to threatening to launch a new aggression.  How do you rate that?  How do you read the course of the next stage in this regard?

The Turk is an occupier in Syria and we can only see him as an occupier. All of the Turk’s attempts are to seek to confront the emergence of a Kurdish canton in the north, and these are illusions, not facts;  Because in the north and east of Syria we have a constant quest to give reassurances that the project is a Syrian project and that the Syrian Kurds are working for real citizenship and a democratic project that achieves the presence of all components on the grounds of recognition and equality.

 The constant threats from Turkey are a kind of pushing the conflict out of Turkey’s regions to distract the Turkish people from the misfortunes that the leading party in Turkey has brought them to;  Because the policies of this party have exhausted the Turkish economy and the Turkish lira and made things worse, so the people's preoccupation with these threats continues, but to no avail, because the Turk cannot enter a war while he is in such distress.

 Also, the international community, America and Russia in particular, due to the lack of understandings in the recent visits made by Erdogan in order to achieve gains and blackmail once again by playing on the Russian and American ropes, has not reached any result, and therefore he is floundering at home.

 (Erdogan) cannot take a step forward in his threats, and when he retreated, he could no longer solve his economic crises. I believe that the Turkish man, in his entry into Syria, became among the depleted parties, especially the parties to Astana, the Iranian, Turkish and Russian all at an angle, the economy in Turkey, and the economic and human bleeding  In Iran, further loss of Russian prestige and denigration, all of this is taking place in Syria for this interfering force, and the US is running a crisis from behind and pushing these forces into further confusion, no matter how hard they try to reach a conclusion;  Because, as a result, the Americans are present, and without them, they cannot reach any solution in the region.

 * Within the framework of your vision to solve the Syrian crisis and end the human and living suffering of the Syrians, what is your message at the outset to the Syrian people?  And to the Damascus government?  And to the international powers, especially Russia and America?

 In reading to resolve the Syrian crisis and the course of the conflict and the international competition in it, especially between Russia and America, I think that the American approach in the region is its reading that America’s opponents in Syria will be affected, Iran, which is an extension of the American conflict that seeks to contain it and therefore runs long-term and patient policies.

 With regard to Russia, which is an international competitor, America will not back down before it, but rather seeks to leave it mired in the quagmire alone, offering endless losses, unless the United States agrees to end it with an agreement on a political solution that satisfies it, because the American prestige does not accept to retreat in the face of the continuing Russian pressure through its allies in Astana.  Turkish and Iranian.

 Likewise, the Turk, we talked about, is also suffering from a hemorrhage in the economy, and this affects his positions, and the Turk must return to the American embrace and stop being stubborn;  Because the manipulation between Russia and America did not serve the Erdogan regime.

 As for the suffering of the Syrian people, it will not be ended by mutual agreements.  Because everyone is governed by American decisions in the matter of Caesar's Law and the siege, and because this regime cannot be relied upon to be a partner in the solution, it has handed over its command to the Iranian and the Russian, and therefore its decision is not in his hand. As for the opposition represented by the coalition and the negotiating body is also weak.

 Therefore, a first message must be sent to the opposition to unify its decision, position and vision, and to make northern Syria a unified area, albeit with two decentralized administrations, but it interacts through the means of economic support or security and military aid, with European and American support, and by neutralizing the Turks, who must return the occupied territories, and remain a true guarantor.  Thus, he can maintain the security of his borders and benefit from the Syrian cake in those areas, and achieve an economic balance through the mutual relations between north and east Syria and northwest Syria with the Turkish side, which has the largest border with Syria and establishes real relations in which a lot of success through the return of the displaced and through  Reducing the pressure on the Turks and the possibility of building an internationally supported project that would confront the regime and bring down tyranny. This is the real message to the Syrian people, who must be aware of this issue;  Because the government in Damascus does not accept to remain as it is, and this is something that the people can no longer accept, nor return to what was before 2011.

 The card is now in the hands of the opposition and the forces controlling it to reach consensus to achieve the unity of the north, east and west, with two decentralized administrations, that can give a new start to the political confrontations and to achieve a complete political solution.