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Dividing or Sharing Syria? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People walk near rubble of damaged buildings, in the rebel-held besieged area of Aleppo, Syria November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Bashar al-Assad’s regime rejected U.N. Convoy Stephan de Mistura’s proposal to save Aleppo through granting it self-ruling system. French Foreign Minister warned that an all-out war in Syria could lead to its division and empowering ISIS.

So, are we really being faced by dividing Syria or by sharing it?

Since the Russian military intervention in Aleppo in 2015, many have warned from the dangers of dividing Syria, especially with the mention of “useful Syria” which is the geographical areas useful for Iran, as well as ensuring the safety of reinforcements for “Hezbollah” from Iran through Iraq and Syria reaching Lebanon.

Yet, after the convergence of the Turkish-Russian ties, we are witnessing hints of a political power division in Syria rather than a geographical distribution.

Visitors in Turkey could sense that Ankara is confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the one who “owns Syria.”

Everybody is talking nowadays about Putin and the role of Russia after the election of Donald Trump – as well as possible cooperation between the two, especially in Syria. This was even mentioned in the Israeli media where Syria is portrayed as a follower of Putin.

So, what about Iran? Definitely, Iranian weapons are flowing into Syrian territories just as the Iranian Forces and Iran-backed Shiite militias. But it seems that Russians are the ones talking about the Syrian issues, not the Iranians. In-fact , anyone seeking an international solution in Syria is discussing it with Moscow.

It is noticeable that “Hezbollah” no longer speaks about Syria, and when Hasan Nasrallah mentions the Syrian war, it is to mobilize followers of his party and convince them of the necessity to be involved in the Syrian blood shedding.

It doesn’t end here, surely. Assad didn’t ignore the political sharing process when he commented on Trump’s winning of U.S. elections. Assad said: “If he fights the terrorists, it is clear that we will be a natural ally, together with the Russians, Iranians and many other countries who want to defeat the terrorists.”

This is an evidence that Assad himself is admitting Syria is being divided between Russia and Iran, add to them Turkey, especially in Aleppo and the areas on the border. Russia has better chances because its military presence in Syria is the largest in its intervention history.

The question now is whether the political division of powers in Syria will divide it geographically, or lead to its disruption, especially that the anticipated battle whether in Iraq or Syria – after eliminating ISIS – will be a revolution or – the expected Sunni revolution – where it is difficult for the Sunni majority to be ruled by minorities supported by the Russian or Iranian occupation, who support a murderer like Assad?

I think we are closer to a downfall similar to Afghanistan, and I hope I am just being pessimistic.