Could Russia End The Syrian Civil War?

Nearly four years ago, the Syrian government secured its reputation as one of the most brutal regimes to crackdown on the Arab Spring. Up until today, their war with rebel forces has continued, leaving 191,000 civilians dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced according to the United Nations, reported USA Today.

Despite a massive international effort to get the conflict under control, the Syria civil war has dragged on long past several red-line threats from major world powers, including the United States. Much of the reason that this truce between Syria’s government and its people has been so elusive is because the conflict is bigger than Syria. China and Russia’s refusal to act against Syria’s regime has left global organizations staring blankly at a bloody battle that shows no signs of slowing down.

That scenario may be changing, according to a recent press release from the Syrian government’s official news agency SANA, who is now saying that it would be willing to enter into negotiations with rebel forces, reported The Los Angeles Times.

“The Syrian Arab Republic confirms that it was and still is ready to discuss with whoever believes in the unity of Syria… in what serves the will of the Syrian people and fulfills their aspirations in achieving security and stability and to end the bloodshed.”

The news does, however, come with several strings attached. Syria is only willing to discuss its civil war if such talks are overseen by Russia, arguably its most loyal ally in the global debate about the trouble in Syria. Several cease fires have paused fighting in certain regions of Syria over the past few months, but they haven’t always been well received by rebels, who say they are met solely because of desperate circumstances that the government is putting the Syrian people in.

Russian presidential special envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, also offered some details what could be involved in a possible peace talk meeting.

“Next, representatives of the Syrian government could come for the second stage and later, an agreement on more concrete formats, for instance a conference, may be achieved.”

Even though it would be welcome news for some kind of communication to be opened between the two opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, it doesn’t appear that the situation will diffuse anytime soon. Oubai Shahbandar, senior advisor to the western-backed opposition group the National Coalition, told L.A. Times that Syrians against the regime wouldn’t be baited by the offer of a Russia-backed conference.

“It’s outrageous that the very nation funding Assad’s annihilation of the Syrian people suddenly claims to be a peacemaker… Moscow has no credibility in that department.”

[Image via Flickr]