Syria’s bubbling cauldron
The Syrian conflict is lingering and prospects of its resolution are not in sight. The Arab countries which sided with the United States have not been succeeded to find out a diplomatic solution of ongoing hostilities in Syria. The United States and its Western and Middle East allies failed to remove the regime of Bashar al-Asad by supporting the opposition militias fighting against his government forces. Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hizbullah militia recued the sitting government in Damascus.
The major beneficiary of the conflict is Israel which has now directly entered the war theater. Israeli jets carry out strikes against the military installation of Syrian forces and Iranian bases. Intrusion in the Syrian airspace for intended strikes has become a daily routine. In a missile firing against the intruded Israeli F 16s from the Syrian S 200 air defense system, a Russian military plan IL-20 was hit in which 15 servicemen were killed. Both Moscow and Damascus blamed Israel for the downing of Russian military aircraft. According to Russian Defense Ministry, Israeli pilots had used the IL-20 as a cover in order to evade Syrian air defenses, thus making the Russian plan a target. “By hiding behind the Russian plane, Israeli pilots put it in the line of fire,” read a ministry statement.
Reacting to the incident in a press conference, Russian President Putin attributed it to a series of tragic circumstances. He vowed to bloster Russia’s military strength in Syria to provide additional security for the Russian troops deployed there. Troops from Iran, Turkey and Russia are also present in the war ravaged Syria. Although Russian President told Basar al-Asad about the withdrawal of foreign troops but no time frame was disclosed. More than 1500 hundred US troops, including Special Forces, a marine artillery unit, forward controllers and others are present in Kurd areas of northern Syria. The end of fight against IS takes away any legal justification for the presence of US troops in Syria, but US official had suggested that they plan to maintain a military presence until an overall settlement for war is found. That has raised concern about a more permanent project that risk drawing the US into a direct conflict with Syria and Asad ally Iran.
The UN backed peace talks have cracked and the leadership of Islamic countries which has maintained a neutral stance has not shown interest to find out a diplomatic solution of the Syrian crisis which placed Saudi Arabia and Iran in opposite camps. In his recent visit of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed concern over the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and other parts of Muslim world. In an interview with AL ARABIYA TV the Prime Minister said, “I would like to ensure peace in the Middle East because it is very distressing for Muslims to see conflicts going on among Muslims. There are already several conflicts plaguing the Muslim world, starting from Libya to Somalia, to Syria, and Afghanistan. Pakistan has also suffered a lot.”He also shared his views on the conflict of Yemen. He said, “Conflicts in the Muslim world is weakening all of us. Pakistan would like to play a role in putting out these fires,” he affirmed, adding that if required for Yemen, Islamabad would play a positive role there also to end the conflict.
Emergence of IS has a linkage with the conflict in Syria. After its defeat in northern Syria at the hands of Kurdish militia and Iraq by the government’s forces backed by the US troops, IS fighters were brought to Afghanistan on board unmarked helicopters. The fighters of this international terrorist organisation have carried out a number of attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The gunmen of IS attacked a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahwaz and killed 8 revolutionary guards on Saturday. It is a moment to ponder for the ruling leadership of Islamic countries to come forward with hectic diplomacy for ending the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.