The Jusoor Center for Studies held a workshop in Istanbul yesterday, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, entitled "The US Stance on Normalization with the Syrian Regime". The event was attended by officials from the Syrian opposition institution, as well as Syrian US-based researchers, and other Syrian activists.
Mr. Muhammad Sarmini, President of Jusoor Center for Studies opened the meeting by welcoming the participants and stressing that we should deeply understand the acceleration of initiatives to normalize relations with the Syrian regime after the earthquake that stuck Syria in February 2023, which provided a humanitarian cover for the political communications that had been ongoing with the regime before occurring the earthquake. Mr. Sarmini confirmed that various local and international parties are monitoring and waiting for the US stance, which is a concern due to its measures that do not clarify the true nature of the position as it appears in media statements.
The participants in the workshop presented systematic briefings that tried to provide an understanding for the true US position towards the regime and the issue of normalising political relations with such a regime. In this regard, some participants, who are members of the Syrian Negotiations Commission and, in turn, in the delegation that recently visited Washington, presented high-value ideas. Moreover, Syrian researchers and experts working in US-based research centers concerned with Syrian affairs and regional issues added important analysis and notes.
The participants discussed the US position and its impact on local actors and on countries concerned with Syrian affairs, especially Arab states and Turkey. They confirmed that the US position, despite the media statements published by some American officials that support UN Resolution 2254 (2015) and peaceful change in Syria, is actually greatly influenced by the accelerating regional and international changes during the past few years. Shifts as such pushed Washington no longer to focus on Syria.
In addition, participants added that many other factors have affected the US retreating position, that are related to the interests of regional actors with the regime's allies (Russia and Iran). Such actors have made Syria a space for testing intentions in any initiative and to deliver negotiation messages negatively or positively, aided by the Syrian geopolitics; as it mediates these countries .
Furthermore, the participants discussed the significant impact of the local actors' positioning and behavior on the US retreating position, especially since it is related to the current US administration and its democrats officials responsible for the Syrian issue. Accordingly, discussions at the last workshop axis focused on the opposition's choices facing the US position that has turned to leaving an opportunity for the normalization of the United States' allies with the regime, even if it did not officially support that. The participants agreed on the necessity of moving from researching the causes and motives to understand the reality of regional and international interactions to the importance of reviewing the opposition's strengths and weaknesses and seeking mechanisms to invest in all opportunities and face the challenges .
Although all the discussions during the workshop about regional and international positions, especially the US stance, called for concern, the participants agreed that it is essential to understand the sensitive and unstable stage that the world is experiencing, especially after the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis and the economic recession it caused, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its repercussions. As such, the scene is unstable, and it is difficult to anticipate it, given that it is very likely to experience an escalation that may change all the current stage arrangements .
Based on the above, the participants recommended that it is quite important for the Syrian opposition to strengthen its internal structure and solve problems, in parallel with its continued positive interaction with all countries to achieve the national vision that Syrians aspire to for the future of Syria .