Syria appears to be on the verge of an unprecedented food crisis during the war years. What makes matters worse is the possibility that this problem will become chronic and entrenched if solutions are not put forward that help in the recovery of the Syrian economy.
During his visit to the Syrian capital Damascus on 12 May 2021, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced the inauguration of the Iranian Consulate General in the city of Aleppo, located in the north of the country, with the approval of the President of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries.
After the end of the presidential elections that took place on 26 May 2021, the Syrian regime announced a set of priorities that it would work on during the next phase. These included military, developmental and diplomatic items that are thought by the regime to constitute exits from the Syrian crisis. Realising those priorities requires high resources and costs, and political flexibility or a different political and diplomatic approach than before, which raises questions about the regime's ability to provide the appropriate conditions to achieve its priorities.
This paper highlights the Syrian regime's priorities in the next stage, and discusses its ability to realise them.
The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, Organisation for the Liberation of the Levant), led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani, seeks to reproduce its image through the shifts it makes at the level of its political rhetoric, or through the tactical changes made by Julani, both by appearing in a modern outfit, abandoning the stereotypical image of the Mujahideen (Holy Warriors), and by wandering in Idlib's markets, unlike the jihadi leaders who live in isolation from the people and reside in unknown areas.
Most of the interpretations have argued that this behaviour is as an attempt on the part of the HTS to reposition itself vis-à-vis the Syrian crisis, and to present itself as a moderate local player who deserves to be a party to the final settlement that determines the future of Syria. This paper tries to shed light on those shifts and determine their causes and the results expected to be achieved from them.
The parties controlling the areas outside the authority of the Syrian regime tend to perpetuate their presence in an attempt to create an alternative authority in those areas, taking advantage of the external protection provided by the regional and international parties, and from the situation of freezing the conflict that is taking place in Syria, in addition to possessing the resources through which they can provide services in their areas of control, which makes them a de facto authority in the absence of any prospect for a political settlement in Syria. However, this reality that has been going on for many years has produced a divisive reality in Syria, which seems likely to turn into a final form that is difficult to change, as long as this change does not comply with the political and security calculations of regional and international actors in light of the existing balance of power and their subjection to the equations of conflict and the current rules of engagement.
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