YAIAR – The fall of Homs and Turkey

The fall of Homs and TurkeyThe evacuation of the rebels from the Old City of Homs is the result of a deal between the government and the rebels controlling that part of the city. But the real actors behind the scene are the UN officials together with the Russian and Iranian observers.

However, the circumstances were also conducive for such an outcome: The civilian population of Syria suffered extensively from the clashes between government forces and the rebels. After their hopes started to fade away that the international community could solve their problem, they took the initiative.

They put pressure on all sides that a solution had to be found for the deprivation of basic daily needs. Neither the government nor the rebels could turn a deaf ear to the voices of these local communities.

The evacuation has an impact on Turkey’s Syria policy because, even if the withdrawal from Homs is agreed to by the rebels for tactical purposes, securing such an important withdrawal at this critical juncture is a major achievement for the government, and this will strengthen Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s hand.For Turkey, the more the Syrian crisis drags on, the more complicated the social problems caused by the presence of hundreds of thousands of Syrians in the country will become.

Financial burdens of the Syrian crisis will continue to weigh on Turkey’s budget as long as the crisis remains unresolved.True, Assad is nowhere near an outright victory over the rebels.

But there are fighters who are not prepared to give up fighting for fear of being severely punished. With the peaceful evacuation of Homs, they know now that there are ways of extricating themselves from the clashes without the government’s reprisal.

Therefore, the fighters who have a predisposition to give up may now follow the example of their comrades who agreed to evacuate Homs.The international community is divided on the role that Assad will play in the transition process.

Apart from Iran and the Russian Federation, almost all countries prefer to conduct this process without Assad, but they fear that Syria may fall into the hands of the extremists if Bashar falls before a functioning state apparatus is set up to substitute for the present one.Western countries made adjustments in their Syria policy when they noticed that the Syrian revolution was being hijacked by extremists.

Turkey was slow in making a similar adjustment.There is no sign of a coup to remove Assad because there is no divergence of opinion between Assad and other eligible candidates for the presidency.

If Assad is eliminated one way or the other, his potential successors will probably fight for the same cause with the same determination.Therefore, the divergence between the Russian Federation and Iran on one side and the remainder of the international community on the other will continue after the elections.

Another important point for Turkey is the future of Aleppo. It is not easy to tell whether the Syrian government, after its achievement in Homs, is now contemplating a similar deal for Aleppo.

But Aleppo is a harder nut to crack: There is an inclination within the international community to establish a no-fly zone in the north of Syria If this happens, the seizure of Aleppo by the government will not be an easy task because without air support, it will be more difficult to break the resistance of the fighters in Aleppo.On the other hand, the establishment of the no-fly zone has its own complexities: The Russian Federation cannot be expected to support, in the UN Security Council, the establishment of such a no-fly zone in Syria A unilateral decision by a group of countries to establish it will be devoid of international legitimacy.

A further complication is that without Turkey’s support, it is not easy to control a no-fly zone in the north of Syria If Turkey decides to support the no-fly zone, it will be deviating from its traditional policy of urging international legitimacy in such circumstances.In light of these parameters, Turkey will have to choose between increasing its efforts to bring Assad down at once, or prepare itself to live longer with this reality.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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