Do you think the war in Syria will be over soon? I would be very happy, if this seemed to be realistic, but I fear the war could last for many years. To many countries with to many different interests are involved.
The Assad regime that clinges to power
Many very different rebel groups, from secular groups to radical islamistic groups like Al Nusra, an Al Quaeda ally
The so called Islamic State, that wants to establish an islamistic Caliphate
The Kurds who want independence for their people
All these participants of ground war hold a part of Syria occupied but no one seems to be able to reach a sustainable military victory.
Furthermore different foreign countries are involved, that support the war parties with money, weapons and air strikes.
Russia, Iran and Hezbollah from Lebanon support the Assad regime. Especially Russia will obviosly never admit that Assad is toppled.
There’s the western alliance led by the US. Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan and the UK follow. They fight against the Islamic State, but an additional aim of war is to topple Assad.
Saudi Arabia and Quatar support radical islamistic groups among the rebels against Assad.
And there’s Turkey with the main goal to prevent an independency of Kurds in Syria, because of the fear that would strengthen the Kurdish minority in their own country.
The situation seems to be hopeless and I must think of the so called 30 Years War in Germany 4 centuries ago. It began with religious quarrels and fighting for power between Emperor and regional princes. Step by step all big European powers interfered with the conflict. The war lasted for 30 years from 1618-1648. Nearly all Middle Europe was devasted and up to 40% of the people killed. At last there was a peace treaty, Sweden and France had some territorial gains, rather little regarding all the death toll, but the balance of power remained more or less the same as before. But it took 30 years till all international powers learnt that it was time for peace.
I hope, this time it will not last as long. The Swedish Chancellor at that time, Axel Oxenstierna, wrote in a letter to his son: “ Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed? “ I hope the statesmen of our days will show more wisdom.
There will be no end of the war in Syria by a military victory. No one will be able to reach all his aims. At the moment the western alliance has three aims, to defeat Islamic State, to topple Assad and to maintain the unity of the state Syria. Reaching all three will be impossible. Which aim is most important?
Give peace a chance.