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European Union Warns Assad From ‘Losing Peace’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian residents fleeing the eastern part of Aleppo gather in Masaken Hanano, a former rebel-held district which was retaken by the regime forces last week, on November 30, 2016 (AFP Photo/George OURFALIAN)

Beirut- While Syrian opposition factions insist on staying in Aleppo, the European Union and the U.N. sent a direct and harsh message on Saturday to head of the Syrian regime Bashar Assad – warning him from a “terrible battle” and from “losing peace” in case he insists on a military solution in the city.

Worldwide forces believe that the main target of the military escalation launched by Russia and the Syrian regime in Aleppo was to impose the conditions of Moscow and Damascus in any future negotiations to politically solve the Syrian crisis that started in 2011.

While Turkey and Germany reiterated their insistence that the departure of Assad would be the “entry” to any solution in Syria, a surprising report was published by Britain’s The Times newspaper saying that the European Union had suggested during a meeting – held two weeks ago – with opposition leaders to offer financial aid to all parties in Syria, including the regime, as part of a political solution to the crisis.

The opposition later denied the report, saying Europe still does not have a clear vision for a solution Syria.

Speaking with Asahrq Al-Awsat, Hadi al-Bahra, former president of the National Coalition for Syrian opposition forces denied The Times report, saying that opposition is attached to the Geneva declaration to solve the crisis in the country.

At a panel on the future of Syria held in Rome on Saturday, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Union Federica Mogherini told Assad: “You can win a war, but you can lose the peace. Does the regime, or the countries that are currently supporting the regime really want to win a war on a zero-sum game approach?”

From his part, U.N. Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura told the panel on Saturday that he hoped to avoid a “terrible battle” in Aleppo.

“Now it’s time for negotiation, but negotiating in real terms, which means power sharing… Otherwise, the alternative could be no major conflict but a creeping, ongoing guerrilla (war) and no reconstruction,” de Mistura said.

The U.N. envoy said he counts on “the influence of Russia and Iran” to convince Damascus to seek a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Commenting on the paper presented by Mogherini, al-Bahra said it “does not include any solution but a list of ideas based on the establishment of a parliamentarian regime in Syria with limited authorities.”

Lebanese strategic analyst Dr. Khattar Abu Diab told Asharq Al-Awsat: “European and even Turkish statements concerning the issue of Assad’s departure do not seem efficient, because those states are incapable to change the path of events in Syria.”

Abu Diab, who teaches political science at Paris-Sud University said that the fate of Assad is much linked to the kind of agreement that could be reached between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.