Monday, 01 December 2014 10:58

Assad Regime Sets Out Impossible Conditions Before Agreeing to de Mistura’s Plan

The Assad regime’s foreign minister Walid al-Moallem set out conditions for agreeing to the “freeze” plan put forward by the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura. Moallem said that “we are waiting confirmations from Mr. de Mistura that rebel factions in Aleppo agreed to the freeze plan, that they chose to stay in the city and settle their status at the authorities, that they agreed to the return of order preservation forces and local administration with its various authorities to the neighborhoods under their, and that they would reopen Damascus-Aleppo highway in order to allow the delivery of relief aid via the state-run civil society organization.”  Burhan Ghalioun, member of the Syrian Coalition, said earlier that the plan put forward by the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, which aims to “freeze” the fighting in some areas between the FSA and regime force, will benefit the Assad regime as it will enable it to reap the fruits of the policy of starvation, indiscriminate killings and the systematic displacement of the population. Implementing this plan will mean that Syrians have eventually acquiesced to end the revolt without receiving any guarantees for real change in the ruling regime. In other words, in return for being spared death by barrel bombs and for accepting the status quo, starving Syrians will receive international food aid and the siege imposed on them by regime forces will be lifted.” Ghalioun pointed out that “while de Mistura’s plan raises the prospect of making a breakthrough in the ongoing attempts to reach a truce and put an end the deadly conflict, it, however, cannot be used as a basis for any initiative to bring about a political solution to the ongoing conflict. The Iranians, Assad’s staunchest ally, are now fully aware that the conflict has morphed into a war of attrition for all sides, especially the Assad regime whose primary concern now is “freezing” the conflict and reaching a cease-fire in order to stop the rapid deterioration of its military and political position. Applying a cease-fire without any prior conditions, except the delivery of food and medical supplies to the besieged areas, simply means relieving Assad of all military and international pressures and giving it the chance to tighten its grip on the areas under its control. Meanwhile, the opposition-held areas will plunge further into chaos and infighting while begging for international aid. Such a situation does not only constitute a guarantee for Assad’s survival, but will also lift the burden of the Syrian conflict from the shoulders of the international community. Then the Syrian conflict, originally a revolution against a tyrannical regime, will be minimized to its humanitarian side. And while the international community will continue to provide aid to the opposition-held areas, it will little by little will deal with Damascus as the capital of what will remain of the Syrian state.” Commenting on the Assad regime's initial approval of the proposal put forward by the UN special envoy, Ghalioun said that “Assad’s consent to this plan comes as no surprise as he sees in it a lifeline and an opportunity to consolidate the status quo while tightening his grip on central Syria and its most valuable resources. Syria’s remaining parts will be left as a poisoned gift for the rebels and the extremist forces to contend for and eventually deplete each other. It is no coincidence that de Mistura chose Aleppo as a testing ground for his plan as freezing the fighting in this city will allow the Assad regime to assemble more troops to eliminate the opposition strongholds in East Ghouta near Damascus.” Ghalioun concluded his remarks stressing that de Mistura’s plan represents the best culmination of Assad’s policy of forcing rebels to sign truces in some areas across Syria through which he managed to neutralize thousands of rebel fighters and to ease the burden placed on his troops to consolidate his control over Damascus, the center and the coastal area. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Al Arabi al-Jadid)

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