US State Dept. ex-official: Syrian truce unlikely to succeed

Arab World Materials 26 February 2016 14:04 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 26

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend: Past experience suggests that the chances of the US-Russian sponsored Syrian truce succeeding are low, Joe Barnes, expert at US James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy believes.

"The situation on the ground is both complex and fluid; there is huge mistrust on all sides; and external powers - notably Russia, the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey - have competing, often conflicting agendas," said Barnes, who is also a former US State Department diplomat.

One should hope that the truce succeeds, if only because the alternative - continued, even escalating conflict - is so terrible, he said.

Earlier the U.S., Russia, and other countries have reached an agreement for a ceasefire in Syria which is scheduled to go into effect at midnight on Feb. 27. The agreement will not include militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) or Jabhat al-Nusra.

"Perhaps a truce will provide breathing space for negotiations. At a minimum, it might provide a short respite from fighting that will permit the delivery of humanitarian supplies," Barnes said.

Meanwhile the expert noted that he is not holding his breath for peace in Syria thanks to this agreement.

"But I would love to be proven wrong," he said.

Syria has been suffering from an armed conflict since March 2011, which, according to the UN, has so far claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people. Militants from various armed groups are confronting the Syrian government troops. The "Islamic State" (aka IS, ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups are the most active ones in Syria.

Edited by SI

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova