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The last independent rebel enclaves in parts of Deraa and Quneitra provinces have ceased to be. As of now, the rebellion remains in two parts of the country. In both of these areas, the rebels can maintain themselves only because their presence is supported by an outside power.
The two areas are the US base at al-Tanf and the surrounding area, and the Turkish-maintained area of control extending from Jarabulus on the Syrian Turkish border, westwards to include the Afrin area and then south Opinion post interests Idleb Province.
Opinion post interests the first to know - Join our Facebook page. The medium-to-long-term existence of these enclaves is far from assured, but in any case, they represent a transition in the civil war in which rebel fighters are no longer pursuing a political project of their own.
They have of necessity become contractors working for foreign powers with their own projects in Syria. The situation reflects a sea change in the Syrian dynamic. The Assad regime is no longer under threat.
Thanks to Iranian and Russian assistance, its survival is now assured. The Syrian situation is now dependent on the decisions and the rivalries of outside powers, not primarily on the wishes of Syrians on all sides. If the US chooses to quit eastern Syria, the SDF will have little choice but to negotiate their surrender with the authorities in Damascus.
Rebel areas were always characterized by chaos. Your security was dependent on the authority of the particular rebel group with which you were connected. In the regime-controlled areas, one is immediately aware of being in a totalitarian state, in which the power of the authorities has penetrated every human interaction and normal straightforward dialogue with strangers is impossible.
While the SDF-controlled area is no democratic paradise, it is qualitatively different in atmosphere.
However, one still has to be careful. The regime, in its visible form, is not entirely gone from the SDF-controlled spaces. Traveling west of Qamishli requires a careful traversing of the city to avoid these enclaves. The SDF-controlled area looks more secure than it is. In Raqqa and Manbij, the civic councils are functioning, the SDF and Asayish security police checkpoints are as ubiquitous and efficient as ever.
But underneath the apparent normality, there is anxiety. The real number is probably twice that. SDF officials and their civilian counterparts in the Syrian Democratic Council SDC remain, at least for public consumption, optimistic about the possibility of a long-term American presence to underwrite their enclave.
And they will fight Iran within Syria. Mustafa Bali, chief media officer of the SDF, concurred: There has been media speculation regarding imminent withdrawal. Putin also once said that his forces were leaving, but the opposite took place. Syria today is a place of international confrontation in which all forces seek to strengthen their allies on the ground.
The US will not leave Syria without stability on the ground. We see no evidence of imminent withdrawal. Last week, the first direct negotiations took place between their representatives and those of the Assad regime in Damascus.
It is not quite clear where things are heading. Israel should hence make its voice heard via all available channels in Washington, in both the executive and the legislature, in support of the maintenance of the SDF enclave in eastern Syria.
Specifically, efforts should be made to ensure a formal US declaration of a no-fly zone for regime and regime-allied aircraft east of the Euphrates. This move, reminiscent of the no-fly zone declared over Iraqi Kurdistan after the Gulf War ofwould with one stroke ensure the continued viability of the SDF-controlled area.
This entity is not seeking independence from Damascus, so Western concerns regarding the formal breakup of Syria need not be raised by such a move. As the strategic contest between Iran and its allies and the US and its allies in the Middle East moves into high gear, it is essential that the West maintain its alliances and investments and behaves and is seen to behave as a credible and loyal patron and ally.
Eastern Syria currently constitutes a testing ground for this. The writer is a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, which first published this article on its website jiss.Get The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion columnists, editorials, op-eds, letters to the editor, and book and arts reviews.
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This section highlights the beliefs and values that experienced writers who are. Today, we present several opinion viewpoints that take stock of a notable midterm election week in America. Tuesday’s election allowed voters, in time-honored fashion, to have their say in.
Opinion Outpost is the premier paid online survey community that allows consumers to take surveys online for Money, points and rewards. Christian Caryl hosts the DemocracyPost blog, which covers the challenges facing democracy around the world.
Post-summit, remember human rights — and China’s interests By Joseph Bosco, opinion contributor — 06/14/18 PM EDT The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of.