The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Syrian opposition seeks political settlement in Doha | Can efforts to regroup the different bodies of opposition be fruitful?

After a series of meetings held in several countries as a part of ongoing efforts to reach a common ground and a political settlement putting an end to the Syrian conflict which has already exhausted and dispersed the Syrians, attention is now turning to the upcoming “Doha Conference” in which different bodies of opposition will be present in an attempt to restructure the “Syrian opposition” which Syrian people have placed their hope on to reach a political and comprehensive settlement based on international resolutions.


Meanwhile, the civil opposition in Syria is seeking to regroup, following the challenges and obstacles placed by local and foreign powers since its formation, hindering its participation in reaching a solution leading to a cessation of bloodshed in Syria.


Regime opponents see that dramatic escalation of military operations and successive crises have weakened the Syrian opposition, especially with the presence of too many agendas which dispersed the opposition’s efforts.


Then, will “Doha Conference” help to regroup the different bodies of Syrian opposition? And what benefits can the conference provide for Syrians?


Commenting on “Doha Conference”, the Syrian opposition figure, Ibrahim Jebbawi told SOHR, “I do not think that the conference or the forum which will be held in Doha will come up with a new body. Even if it leads to forming a new body, there will be opponents to this body, as the choice of figures that are supposed to be the pillars of this body remains subjected to personal considerations and temperamental evaluations. Accordingly, this conference or any other conferences cannot unify all bodies of opposition under a single body or even unify their visions. All these efforts will be fruitless, as the Syrian themselves have nothing to do with neither the Syrian affairs nor the reaching of a solution for the Syrian crisis, except when one of the two major sides of the Syrian conflict, the Syrian opposition and revolutionary bodies on one hand and regime forces on the other, listen to the other. Accordingly, the two sides will unify their ranks against the Russian vision.


Otherwise, the end of the Syrian conflict remains in the hand of international powers, the USA and Russia in particular. As soon as these two powers agree on a political settlement in Syria, the Syrian war will reach to an end. With a one-sided decision, US can also put an end to the Syrian conflict through calling for an international conference for peace in Syria, just like Dayton Agreement in the 1990s. This solution won’t be proceeded with soon, as the USA sees that the conflict in Syria does not need to end at the present. As long as Syrian people are the only victims of this conflict, US, Russia and the other conflicting powers, which ironically move in Washington’s orbit, keep caring about nothing but their own narrow interests in Syria. Unless the USA calls for a conference for peace in Syria, Russia cannot put an end the Syrian conflict on its own.”



In an exclusive interview with SOHR the Syrian-regime opponent in the Syrian Communist Party, Fateh Jamous says “the Qatari efforts, backed by Turkey, aim to group all ranks of the opposition with their different visions and ideologies. Here, I mean the ranks of the foreign-based opposition and the set of their convergent ideologies and policies. However, it is not easy to unite these different bodies under one formation, most have strong ties with different international powers. In their best conditions, the Qatari-Turkish efforts will be added to the Saudi-Turkish contradiction, which will gravitated to one camp only, even if ‘pretty proposals’ came to the surface. I think these efforts are unreasonable, since they are exerted abroad and under foreign conditions. Moreover, these efforts cannot by exerted inside Syria without being protected by international resolutions. Not only do the participants of this conference not care about the opposition inside Syria, but they also accuse the body of opposition in Syria of ‘igniting the conflict.’ Instead of addressing this situation rationally by putting aside any pretexts to reach power and improve dialogue among these different bodies, everybody is reluctant and adherent to its conditions, as if they are in the beginning of the crisis.


Speaking to SOHR, the journalist and analyst, Alan Kbiki commented on “Doha Conference”, “after the trilateral conference attended by the Turks, Iranians and Russians and the Russian escalation in Idlib, it seems that Turkey seeks to rehabilitate the Syrian opposition which is subordinate to the Turkish government through meeting with old and new figures in Doha and getting financing by some foreign countries, especially Qatar, at a time when Turkey is struggling with a severe economic hardship. Turkey wants to woo the political opposition to use it as a bargaining chip against Russia, especially since some Arab countries started to deal the Syrian regime and some announced renormalization with Al-Assad’s government. Fearing return of relations between Damascus and Arab countries and reaching a Russian-sponsored agreement between the Syrian regime and the Kurds, Turkey attempts desperately to rehabilitate this body of opposition which Turkey profits from. Turkey has already exploited opposition groups and turned opposition Syrian fighters into mercenaries serving its narrow interests in Syria, Libya and Yemen. I think that Turkey will fail to rehabilitate this body of opposition which has been a political cover for the terrorists and mercenaries in Idlib, Ras Al-Ain and Tel Abyad, where they continue their atrocities and crimes against humanity.”


Yehya Aziz, a member of the Syrian National Coordination Committee , sees that the Syrian situation is getting complicated further in light of the failure of reaching a settlement through negotiations, challenges which the meetings of the constitutional committee faces, and the European countries’ concern about the situation of Syrian refugees. On the other hand, major actors involved in the Syrian conflict care only about their narrow interests, disregarding the sufferings and tragedy of Syrian people.


Mr. Aziz says, “amid this catastrophic situation, most of the Syrians are struggling with hunger with the Syrian regime keeps clinging to power and insisting on hindering the political and negotiating process. This makes opposition bodies and figures focus on regrouping under one structure with various visions through holding conferences and consultative meetings to reach a harmonious and comprehensive draft meeting the international changes helping to improve the political and negotiating process. In this context, Doha conference, which is scheduled to be held next month, comes under Qatar’s support, four years after the discharging of Riyadh Hejab from the Coalition, where internationally recognized political bodies and figures, including the Syrian National Coalition and the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, have been called to participate in the conference with the aim of reaching a new political draft agreement.”


In an interview with the Syrian-regime opponent, Ahmed Mazhar Sa’du says, “there are many efforts by Syrian opposition and regional powers to accomplish the goals that all bodies of opposition in Syria have failed to achieve. The upcoming Qatari-backed workshop or forum in Doha chaired by Riyadh Hejab indicates to new attempts parallel to similar attempts by Saudi Arabia to reactivate the Negotiation Commission which has been deactivated for two years, since “Al-Mustaqileen Conference” in Riyadh. ‘Riyadh 3 Conference’ is expected to be called for so soon, especially after the Coalition has expressed desire to be called for participating in that conference to break the ice which Nasir Al-Hariri created and which lead to his sacking from the committee. Doha Forum may lead to the revival of the Negotiation Commission or be a step towards finding alternatives for reaching a political transition. On its own, the Doha meeting cannot revive the hindered negotiations or rehabilitate the Syrian opposition, which leaves the Syrian situation unchanged.”