Syria Talks Were Just "Theater”

By Anna Borshchevskaya

Anna Borshchevskaya is the Ira Weiner Fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East.  In addition, she is a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and was previously with the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Atlantic Council. A former analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan, she has also served as communications director at the American Islamic Congress. Originally from Moscow, Ms. Borshchevskaya came to the United States as a refugee in 1993 and has since received an MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA in political science and international relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Russia, Iran and Turkey on Tuesday pledged to jointly enforce the fragile ceasefire in Syria, wrapping up two days of peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. The countries wrote in a statement that they will “seek, through concrete steps and using their influence over the parties, consolidation of the ceasefire” and will “establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire.”

Russia and Iran, which back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and Turkey, which supports the opposition, brokered the ceasefire in December. The three nations also organized this week’s two-day conference, attended by a delegation of Syrian rebels and representatives of the government regime. The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, mediated the mostly indirect talks. The Trump administration did not send a delegation to Astana, but the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan attended as an observer.

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