Moscow announces a meeting between Russia, the US and Jordan to discuss a ceasefire in Syria
Following reports that the Syrian regime is sending more military forces to Dera’a province in southern Syria, Moscow announced its plans to hold a meeting between Russia, the United States and Jordan in order to discuss a de-escalation zone in the region. Additionally, Washington has threatened the regime against launching a renewed offensive in the southern province, which is protected by the de-escalation zone agreements. If the regime were to attack this de-escalation zone, the pre-existing ceasefire agreement could be compromised and the region would be further de-stabilized. The U.S., Russia, and Jordan are security guarantors for the current cease-fire in the region; therefore all three nations have strategic interests in maintaining stability in the region. However, political analyst George Alam questions what the U.S., Russia and Jordan agree on exactly with regard to foreign policy and diplomacy in the region due to varying strategic, economic and geopolitical interests. Therefore, it is also unknown as to what kind of agreement will be reached.
Other concerns include who will have control over the area in the event that the Syrian regime does violate the ceasefire agreement, Israel’s involvement in the crisis, and whether or not such attacks would increase Iranian influence in the region. Additionally, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the existing agreement entailed the eventual withdrawal of non-Syrian forces from the region of south-western Syria. However, Israel denies agreeing with Russia to prevent Iranian or other foreign forces entering the de-escalation zone. Thus-far, there have been reports that the IRGC forces in the area have withdrawn from southwest Syria and relocated further north towards Damascus. This indicates that Iran is upholding at least part of its agreement. However, the main concern remains whether or not the Syrian regime presses further into the de-escalation zone, as this could put the already rocky stability of the region as a whole in jeopardy, as well as any improvements in the area made thus far.
By Emily Fowler (a Program Associate with People Demand Change, Inc.)