Syrian conflict won’t be resolved without Iran, expert says

Syrian conflict won’t be resolved without Iran, expert says

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.5

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

The dramatic recent developments will help to find a political solution to the long civil war in Syria and this can happen in the next few months, Gawdat Bahgat, professor of National Security Affairs at the US National Defense University's Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Study told Trend.

First, the Russian military intervention in Syria from Sept.30 raises the risks of intended or unintended clashes with western, Turkish, and Israeli forces and their allies, according to Bahgat.

"In other words, several foreign powers are taking active roles in the civil war with little coordination," he said. "None of them would like to get into military confrontation with the others, but the risks of such confrontations are high."

This puts pressure on all foreign powers, involved in the Syrian conflict, to reach an agreement, Bahgat added. He also said the Syrian civil war is a major drive behind the refugee crisis, according to the expert.

The increasing attention global media has given to the plight of the Syrian refugees in recent weeks has intensified the discussion and the need to reach a solution, he added.

Bahgat said the European leaders understand that in order to stop or slow the waves of migrants, they have to improve border security; provide humanitarian assistance and reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

The expert believes that there will not be a solution to the Syrian crisis without Iran.

"Iranian leaders officially deny sending troops to Syria. But Hezbollah, supported by Iran, has troops in Syria," he said.

Bahgat reminded that in recent weeks, Iran has re-introduced a plan to stop the fighting in Syria, adding that the plan calls for a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance and election supervised by the UN.

'Iran's involvement in Syria includes financial, military and diplomatic assistance," said the expert.

Iran wants to defeat the extremist groups supported by other foreign powers in Syria, said Bahgat, adding that however, Iran has never advocated that President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power the rest of his life.

In recent days, it looks that US' and Europe's stances have come closer to Iran's and the growing consensus is that President Assad should be part of the transitional process, according to the expert.

Edited by SI

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Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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