Acceleration and worsening of Syria’s context

After Cyceon assessed that the West’s operational window in Syria has shrunk and Russian President Vladimir Putin has succeeded again in pushing his advantage, three facts confirmed our finding and are now illustrating the West’s response. Large media operation using the photo of Syrian child Omran Daqneesh, victim of a bombing in Aleppo (Syria), was launched lately but would not have brought as much attention as the one done using the body of Aylan Kurdi a year earlier.

Backed by US airstrikes and without authorization from the Syrian government, Turkey has sent tanks and Special Forces, helped by “moderate” rebels, to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and “Kurdish groups” – which also fight against ISIS – in and around the border town of Jarablus (Syria). This military operation has been unwelcome surprise to Moscow where one might question – like Washington – the reliability of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Finally, a UN report concluded that Syrian helicopters did spread chlorine gas while ISIS did use mustard gas. Western countries hoped a resolution confirming the report could be voted at the Security Council, even though the chances of a Russian veto are high. The day before, Syrian officials accused French intelligence agencies of being behind these chemical attacks whose goal was allegedly to discredit Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Rumors have emerged simultaneously saying the Syrian government would still possess chemical weapons, something that contradicts with the Russian-American agreement of September 2013.

All of these developments illustrate the accelerated deterioration of the conflict in Syria and increase the risk of a larger scale military confrontation. Also, Europe is because of NATO, Islamist terrorism and the migration crisis on the frontline of a serious conflict in which its contribution has been limited to a few specific intelligence and/or Special operations, in which it doesn’t weigh enough diplomatically. Finally, Syrians remain the main victim of renewed tensions in this war of which no belligerent sincerely seems to seek the end.