(ANTIMEDIA) — As the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continues to make significant gains in strategic areas of Syria, the U.N. has declared that the Syrian opposition groups fighting inside Syria have essentially lost the six-and-a-half-year conflict.
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According to U.N. Special Envoy for Syria and U.N. peace talks mediator Staffan de Mistura, Syria’s opposition must accept that they have lost the war.
“For the opposition, the message is very clear: if they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case. So now it’s time to win the peace,” de Mistura told reporters, as quoted by Reuters.
Asked if this meant the Syrian government had effectively won the war, de Mistura acknowledged the significant military advancements of the SAA but stated that no one can actually claim to have won the war:
“Victory can only be if there is a sustainable political long-term solution. Otherwise instead of war, God forbid, we may see plenty of low intensity guerrilla (conflicts) going on for the next 10 years, and you will see no reconstruction, which is a very sad outcome of winning a war.”
While the Syrian government will not be able to claim an outright victory over Syria anytime soon, the SAA has certainly retaken some key parts of the country recently. These advancements have arguably enabled hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to return home. President Trump’s decision to rely mainly on the Kurdish-dominated elements inside Syria and discontinue Barack Obama’s covert CIA training program has also signaled that the so-called rebels operating inside Syria are facing imminent defeat.
According to de Mistura, the war is almost over because many countries became involved principally to defeat ISIS. He expects a national ceasefire to follow shortly after this goal is achieved. Next week, de Mistura plans to join the ceasefire talks in Kazakhstan, where he hopes to resolve the issue of Idlib, a city home to two million people currently held by terrorist forces.
Interestingly enough, the Reuters report acknowledges that the U.N. had designated the groups operating in Idlib as terrorist forces but still refers to them as mere “rebels.”
De Mistura also made reference to ISIS’ pending defeats in Raqqa and in Deir ez-Zor, stating that the liberation of the latter was to take place in “a matter now of a few hours.”
According to de Mistura, the issue following ISIS’ downfall is whether or not the government is prepared to negotiate with the parties that are left and “not simply announce victory, which we all know, and they know too, cannot be announced because it won’t be sustainable without a political process.”
“Will the opposition be able to be unified and realistic enough to realise they did not win the war?” he added.
The question de Mistura should be asking, however, is what role the U.S. and its allies will play in disrupting a potential peace process considering these countries have struggled over the last six years to accept a peaceful solution that might involve the Assad government staying in control of Syria.