Syria Hoping To Make Progress With Peace Talks

While conflict continues to rage on throughout Syria, Syrian rebel forces have agreed to attend peace talks in Kazakhstan on Monday with the backing of Russia and Turkey. Russia and Iran will continue to support the current regime and its allies, while Turkey will give backing to rebel forces.

Similar talks were held last year in Geneva, which lasted just two days as they attempted to resolve the Syrian Civil War. The delegation for the upcoming talks will be chosen with the assistance of the High Negotiation Committee (HNC) and will differ from that of last year’s negotiations. The Free Syrian Army stated that “The factions will go and the first thing they will discuss will be the matter of the ceasefire and the violations by the regime.” This comes after a ceasefire was put in place before the new year, which has been largely effective, however violence has continued across many Syrian battlefields.

Syria has been the center of major conflict for the last six years as the people express their unrest with their shambolic politics and exiled President Bashar Al-Assad. The HNC hope that the meeting will “reinforce the truce” and can “establish a phase of confidence” in an area that has seen so much unbalance over the last half decade.

The peace talks are just one effort to move Syria towards stability. The UN is currently appealing to gain unrestricted access to give aid to families in Syria as the ceasefire is in place. They state that there are an estimated 700,000 people trapped in 15 militant-controlled areas, with 300,000 children. This does not include the millions of others in areas of extreme danger where food, water, and basic supplies are restricted. While conflicting forces hope to make progress in their upcoming peace talks, humanitarian organizations fight to give aid to these people in their struggle to live safely and securely among intense fighting. “Tragically, far too many children have known little but conflict and loss in their young lives,” said the WFP, UNICEF, and WHO in a joint statement. These are just some of the organizations working together to offer support for the millions of Syrians in need as their country experiences an intense civil war.

Syrian rebel factions have been unable to work collectively, but these talks could be the start of a joint effort for change and, one day, the resolution to the conflict. “The majority of the groups decided to attend. Discussions will be on the ceasefire [and] the humanitarian issues – aid deliveries, [the] release of detainees,” said a member of the Fastaqim Rebel group. This is an extremely positive sign for those hoping for an end to conflict and a more stable Syria. But these talks are just talks and we must remember that this could end without positive progress.

Jonathon Arrell