After 255,000 deaths, 4 million refugees and the destruction of much heritage and history, Syria still finds itself in a volatile situation where it appears as though war will not cease. The 4th anniversary of the Syrian conflict has approached and passed, nonetheless, there has been no celebratory gunfire to mark its termination, only further barraging and shelling of innocents that has further extended turmoil and affliction.
Despite the fact that a truce was agreed upon last week, the unfortunate disregard for civilian lives by parties participating in this war front once again threatens the mere idea of resolution. The Syrian talks which were hailed a “potential diplomatic breakthrough” by the international Syria Support Group were also labelled as an “effective licence to kill”. Some individuals were already not too convinced by the agreement, which seemed to provide various loopholes to Assad’s advantage. The skepticisms indeed were well merited, as now developments have emerged indicating that the prospective cease fire is already on troubled water. So much so that President Obama personally made a phone call urging Putin to utilize other strategies and step away from Russia’s Syrian opposition forces air strike campaign. During the phone call, the white house said Obama stressed the necessity of rapidly getting humanitarian assistance to besieged areas and commencing the cessation of hostilities across the war-torn country.
The Syria talks resulted in agreements that meant there would be a one week lapse of time before the ceasefire, an undefined period of time that would be determined for further negotiation of a more official halt in this conflict, and that cease fire would apply to parties currently engaged in hostilities aside from warfare directed at Daesh and or any other terrorist organization. In observing the elements of this agreement there is a clear general lack of classification and definitions of some important conditions that are vital to this cease fire. First, there is little to no schedule for when this supposed official talk for halting the war will materialize. In addition, there is a very vague mentioning of which groups are considered terrorists, and it has not been made clear whether response fire from parliamentary or military forces against non-jihadists groups would be considered a violation of the deal. Neither has there been any clear description provided for which groups are considered terrorist, aside from Daesh.
Considering Russia’s very limber definition of who is considered a terrorist and the knowledge that there is a great deal of co-operation between extremist and non-extremist rebel groups, it has been rather unsurprising to hear that Obama has had to make such a call. The peace talks have only opened doors which allow both Putin and Assad an opportunity to build a case in justifying any future conflicts waged against the opposition.