After years of civil war in Syria, battlefield dynamics are shifting decisively in favour of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, in large part thanks to Russia’s military intervention. The combined forces of the Syrian government, Russia, Iran and their allies are making advances across the country, fighting primarily the mainstream rebellion.
Faced with the immensity of the refugee and humanitarian crisis, international powers are pushing for a resumption of peace talks over the Syrian conflict. In the meantime, they have negotiated a cessation of hostilities that brings welcome respite and aid to civilians but contains flaws and freezes the conflict rather than opens the way for a negotiated transition.
Emile Hokayem assessed the consequences of both escalation and diplomacy for the future of Syria, its neighbourhood and the fight against ISIS.