'Syrian agreement' with US fully consistent with Moscow’s interests
Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's Middle East office, Bente Scheller, speaking with Deutschlandfunk, expressed skepticism about the effect of a truce agreement reached as a result of the long negotiations between the US and Russia. "This is similar to what happened in the beginning of the year. The ceasefire sends a positive signal, because most civilians are killed by airstrikes. Therefore, for civilians the situation will improve significantly if the aerial bombardments are stopped," the expert acknowledged.
However Scheller does not believe that the Syrian agreement will last. "In the past we saw that as soon as there was such an agreement, they started to violate it almost right away. Therefore, I think that this time we should expect a similar scenario. And, of course, this agreement will not change the situation fundamentally. The bombings are the biggest problem, but not the only one. And many other things, such as a termination of the siege, were not even discussed this time," she recalls.
The expert believes that the most interesting develpment will happen after the Russian Federation and the United States will cooperate in carrying out bombings against terrorists. "This, of course, will be very problematic, since the attack against Al-Nusra Front is still being discussed, which, of course, will affect the civilians," Scheller warns.
However, she doesn't unambiguously consider the al-Nusra Front, which is banned in Russia, as a terrorist organisation: "This rebel group is known in Syria as a group, which is doing something for the civilian population. not least due to the fact that it was managed to break through the siege ring around Aleppo. Therefore, it is not a terrorist group for Syrians, which they are probably considered in the West," the expert noted.
German expert claims that to a greater extent the current agreement is consistent with the interests of Russia. "The sides have followed the priorities of Russia. But Russia wants to defend the Syrian regime, bombarding non-Daesh rebels. But Daesh is not the greatest danger to the regime, it is the insurgents. And now it looks like that the United States would agree with the bombing of these insurgents, or even will be involved in it," Bente Scheller believes.
According to the expert, the international community moved away from the position of 2012, when many international players have been convinced of the need for removal of Bashar al-Assad. Meanwhile, Scheller believes that Assad's removal is the main prerequisite for the transfer of power and the establishment of peace in the country. Since we should not expect such a move, we also should not expect the success of the negotiations between the opposition and the government.