Since Syrian peace talks ended in Astana, Kazakhstan last month, meaningful progress has been made towards a settlement of the Syrian crisis. The guarantor countries of Russia, Iran and Turkey have managed to do the impossible – to make Syrian government and the armed opposition sit down at one table to discuss the current situation in the country and how to bring an end to war.
At Astana, all sides stated in a final declaration that they have common approaches to monitoring the ceasefire process, including agreeing on setting up a trilateral monitoring mechanism. In addition, the Russian delegation proposed a draft of a new Syrian constitution for further discussion between the Syrian government, the opposition, and the countries in the region.
Most Syrian experts agree that this constitutional project could serve as a starting point for discussions in Syria in which the warring parties will direct their efforts not at empty talks but at discussion of the real future of their country.
Despite the fact that the armed opposition’s reaction on the proposed draft constitution has been critical, it is becoming clear that one of the outcomes of the constitution processis y settlement of the armed conflict. Today, with the ceasefire is being generally respected, it is the best of times to define a clear plan of actions to establish peace, including discussion of the future political system of the country.
On February 7, a second meeting of the operational group overseeing the ceasefire regime in Syria was held in Astana. At the meeting, the group discussed specific problems of the ceasefire in those sectors of the front where solutions are possible.
Jordan joined the meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan. Its participation could play an important role in resolving the Syrian conflict.
Of course, lots of controversial issues arise in the discussion of the Syrian problem, but the continuation of the talks is great progress by itself. Over time, everything that is causing the conflict could be solved in cooperation between Russia, Iran, Turkey and Jordan.
It the second meeting of the ceasefire control group, there was no discussion of the draft constitution. However, it is planned to be on the agenda of the next meeting in Astana, which is scheduled for mid-February. This project has the potential to become a full-fledged basis for a future constitution to be developed and approved by Syrians themselves.