Between Al Qaeda and the Syrian Regime: A Path Out of the Current Crisis, A Report from the Ground
On January 28, the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted a roundtable discussion on a report titled “Between Al Qaeda and the Syrian Regime: A Path Out of the Current Crisis, A Report from the Ground.” It was a timely event as the Geneva peace talks are on-going and the numbers of refugees are increasing as addressed in another GMF event the previous week on “Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis.” The event included a presentation on major findings by Gilles Dorronsoro, non-resident scholar, South Asia Program for Carnegie Endowment and former professor of political science at the Sorbonne in Paris and the Institute of Political Studies in Rennes. Maciej Golubiewski, desk officer, Syria team, European External Action Service (EEAS) offered initial reactions to the report and the European Union policies regarding Syria. The discussion was moderated by Corinna Hörst, deputy director of GMF’s Brussels Office.
The report itself was the result of two weeks of field research in the governorate of Aleppo and three weeks of interviews all along the Turkish-Syrian border. It provided a unique insider’s perspective and ground for discussion on a conflict, which has already claimed over 100,000 lives. The authors argue that the solution to the Syrian crisis lies in supporting alternative local civic institutions that can provide urgent needed structures and assistance. But the effort to strengthen civil institutions and integrate rebels is threatened by increasing political fragmentation and sectarian tensions. Overcoming these obstacles and establishing a new state amid civil war will require greater unity on the ground and the full support of all the international and regional players.
The conversation went beyond the report’s findings and focused on how recent events in Syria are creating a stalemate situation in regards to any diplomatic and or military resolution, the radicalization of the Assad regime and the difficulty in providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population. Participants included European officials, regional and migration experts, and representatives from humanitarian and relief organizations.
For more information on the report, please click here.