After months of heavy fighting, Syria’s vice-president admitted that neither the rebels nor the Syrian army can win the conflict.
Farouq al-Sharaa, a veteran member of the ruling Syrian Baath party, told the Lebanese publication Al-Akhbar that the situation is looking grim for either side after 21 months of violence that has left more than 40,000 people dead. He said that the Syrian army can no longer come out on top in the conflict.
Previously, regime officials have always said that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces would prevail, and Assad himself has remained defiant in the face of domestic and international pressure to step down, blaming the crisis on “terrorist” elements operating in the country.
But now, it appears the the opinion and general feeling among some high-level officials in the Syrian regime has changed.
“With every passing day, the solution gets further away, militarily and politically,” Sharaa, who unlike members of Assad’s Alawite inner circle is a Sunni Muslim, told the paper. “We must be in the position of defending Syria’s existence. We are not in a battle for the survival of an individual or a regime.”
Sharaa is the most senior Syrian official to make such a statement.
He added, “The problem gets bigger and deeper when some start thinking that victory and defeat are possible. The opposition forces combined cannot decide the battle of overthrowing the regime militarily, unless they aim to pull the country into chaos and an unending circle of violence.”
The current situation in Syria has severely deteriorated in recent days, he says, but stressed that a “the solution has to be Syrian, but through a historic settlement, which would include the main regional countries, and the members of U.N. Security Council,” which includes the United States, Russia, and China.
“This settlement must include stopping all shapes of violence, and the creation of a national unity government with wide powers,” Sharaa continued.
According to Reuters, sources close to the Syrian government have said that Sharaa had initially favored dialogue with members of the opposition when the peaceful uprising began in March of last year, rather than a military crackdown.
In the interview, he also appeared to be critical of how the Syrian government operated before the uprising began, pointing to inefficiencies that were never corrected under Assad and admitting the regime’s “detention of thousands of people who are not presented in front of the courts, as if we are still under martial law.”
He added that neither the Syrian opposition or the Baath party can be the sole representative for the Syrian people.
“The political, economic, and social structure of the country is changing day by day and in front of our eyes. What is happening in Syria is homologous with what happened in the early 1990s in the countries of Eastern Europe,” which descended into war, he said.
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