The leader of the Syrian National Coalition has called for the creation of a unified rebel army that works under the command of the Free Syrian Army. If he succeeds, which is pretty difficult, it will clarify the chaotic situation on the ground and facilitate the long-delayed peace talks if they take place. Russia and the US say they are committed to convene the sides in conflict as soon as possible, but now a Russian official said it will be in October, because there is a busy international diplomatic agenda until then. Another blow to the Syrian people. Aren’t they a priority?
As is usual in complex conflicts like the Syrian, the Media uses to simplify to explain the situation and talk about a generic “opposition” or “rebels” against the pro al Assad or pro Government forces. Two sides. One against each other. That’s the easiest way to explain things in few words. But the reality is not so easy. In the field there are dozens of armed groups not all willing to be under the wind of the Free Syrian Army, some of them with links with Al Qaeda. And with the Government forces are Hezbollah fighters.
Al Jazeera made an interesting effort to explain the situation as it was in July in an interactive graphic you can find here.
Now all the “rebel” groups have a common enemy. They are all fighting against Al Assad forces and Hezbollah, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have in the future a unified voice in talks about the future of the country. This is why they need to clarify their situation related with the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the interlocutors with the international community. Something very difficult in the middle of the chaos of the battleground.
The leader of the SNC Ahmed Al Jabra said the situation in the areas controlled by the “rebels” in the East of Syria was “chaotic”. He said to Al Jazeera that “we will try to include all fighters in the National Army, all the loyalists and revolutionaries are welcome .. But there should be order restored and work should be institutionalised … We will not exclude anyone”.
Some areas may escape their control though. In the north, The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, one of Al Qaeda two official affiliates operating in Syria has imposed its authority in al Raqqa, the only provincial capital no longer under the government’s control. Citizens there are holding protests against the new rulers of abuses and unjustified detentions.
According to Al Jazeera The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant are against the FSA and don’t hide what their aim is: creating an Islamic state under Sharia, something the protesting citizens don’t want.
About the peace talks, called Geneva II, Russia and the US always say they have to take place as soon as possible… since may. Now a Russian diplomat said is unlikely they will convene the sides before October because there is a busy diplomatic schedule before then. “It is unlikely to happen in September because there are different events, including the ‘ministerial week’ at the UN General Assembly,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax news agency.
This announced delays only contribute to prolong the agony of the Syrian people. Why? because they give more time to both sides to keep fighting to reach the table, if they finally go, with the best position possible on the battleground. This situation has happened in other complex conflicts before. Now it seems that the momentum is in the Al Assad side. So the delay will benefit him if things stay that way.
Nobody is talking about a cease-fire, about something that would easy immediately the suffering of thousands, millions of Syrians trapped in this war, struggling between life and death, living in extreme conditions, internally displaced, forced to fly or trapped in a battle zone… And now they said they are delaying again the talks because there is a busy international diplomatic agenda. All this suffering people are not a diplomatic priority, it seems.