Russia has replaced the United States, in the ceasefire talks with the Syrian opposition and its ally, Turkey. Considering the short months between the US election on November 8 and January 20 when the new U.S. president-elect takes Office, the efforts to establish a lasting ceasefire, and hopefully peace, in Syria should be respected by the international community, especially since the Syrian opposition have blessed this campaign of directly engaging Russia and Turkey.
The Russia-Turkey relationship has also led to actions against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syria. “Turkish warplanes and artillery have struck Daesh targets in Syria, killing 22 of the group’s terrorists, while Russian aircraft hit terrorists near the Daesh-controlled town of al-Bab,” reports indicate, citing Turkish military officials.
Besides Turkey, the Syrian oppositionlso has the support of a majority of its neighbors and Middle East countries, all believing that Assad’s departure is key to reach a true political solution. The dilemma lies in the fact that Iran and its slate of proxy groups are putting barriers up against the establishment true ceasefire and peace conditions. “Tehran is in full-speed mode to disrupt the entire process, as the mullahs in Iran seek nothing but the Syrian opposition’s all-out annihilation and to completely repaint the country’s social fabric in favor of Assad, ultimately maintaining his regime in power,” writes Alavi, adding, “The Lebanese Hezb’allah, perhaps the main Iran-backed proxy entity, is feeling the heat following the latest developments in relation to Syria. Hezb’allah desperately relies on a land route from Iran to northern Lebanon to maintain the ongoing flow of support from Tehran.”
“Sources in Lebanon told the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Arab that Hezbollah has rejected the Russia-Turkey-mediated ceasefire agreement for the Syrian civil war,” algemeiner reported.
Hezb’allah, who fought in Syria on behalf of Assad, is furious over the fact that Ankara has demanded that all foreign fighters depart from Syria even prior to any discussion of a possible diplomatic solution. To add insult to injury for Hezb’allah, and Tehran, Moscow has discussed Ankara’s demands with the mullahs, meaning that the Kremlin supports the measure and is seeking an all-out diplomatic solution, which is completely against Iran’s domination and destructive policy to derail the peace process.
This turn of events would be terrible for Iran as it continues to rely on foreign recruits and Hezb’allah to provide the ground forces necessary in Syria. It’s especially significant considering the dissent inside Iran regarding the regime’s participation in the war in Syria is growing. “On December 16th, 2016, the fans of Foolad Khuzestan B F.C chanted slogans against the dictator Assad in support of Syrians and the people of Aleppo during the football match,” the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) website reported. The NCRI is a conglomerate of Iranian opposition organizations, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), advocating democratic regime change.
Videos posted on the internet show demonstrations inside Iran demanding that the regime stop its involvement in Syria and using billions boost the Bashar Assad regime, and instead deal with the need and demands of the Iranian people. Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei comissioned the Revolutionary Guards to pursue his lethal policy in Syria, resulting in death and destruction across the Levant, and as long as the IRGC and its proxy militias, including Hezb’allah, remain on Syrian soil, this country will never witness peace and tranquility. The IRGC is a major threat to any campaign to bring an end to the devastation in this land.
Alavi concludes, “The IRGC deserves to be designated a terrorist organization, being Iran’s main leverage to export terrorism abroad. It is also high time for the international community to call for the very eviction of Iran, the IRGC, and all of Tehran’s proxy elements from Syria.”