Syria's Tangled Trilateral Road to Peace

The December 30 ceasefire in Syria, brokered by Russia and Turkey, has for the most held throughout the country, despite violence undermining the pact.  This ceasefire is the third of its kind attempted within the space of a year. But with backing from Russia and Turkey, as well as seals of approval from both the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian opposition and the government of Syria, this agreement may have what it takes to survive the intermittent violations that brought down its predecessors.

Nevertheless, this new collaboration between Moscow and Ankara on Syria policy has a long way to go before planned peace negotiations take place in Astana, Kazakhstan later this month. Fighting in the Wadi Barada valley near Damascus continues to delegitimize the existing ceasefire and has already led some groups to freeze participation in the Astana talks. At the same time, the absence of major groups, like the Islamist Jabhat Fatah al Sham (formerly Al Nusra Front) and the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party), from inclusion in the ceasefire obscures the role that they will play in any future negotiations.

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