Agreement on Syria emerges, but its fate is unclear

Global leaders meeting in Geneva to discuss a resolution to the Syrian civil war may have broken through with an agreement to establish a transitional government. While a positive development, Russia’s insistence (and the complicity of the US) that the plan not include a demand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leaves his role in a future government unclear.

The agreement also stipulates that the transitional government would have to be one formed under “mutual consent” of both the Assad regime and the opposition, and calls for an immediate cease fire.

Syria’s opposition forces have called the agreement a waste of time.

Read the United Nations announcement on the agreement.

Also unclear is how the government or international organizations will handle human rights abuses, which the United Nations reports have been increasing in recent weeks.

Patrick McDonnell of the Los Angeles Times says the odds of the plan’s success are in doubt, noting, “Why the cease-fire, troop pullbacks and other provisions of the 3-month-old peace deal should fall into place now after being ignored by both sides was unclear.”

Foreign Policy’s Elizabeth O’Bagy contends that a disorganized opposition is a net positive.

“Despite their anonymity to international audiences, these leaders are well known inside Syria, are recognized by different opposition groups, and coordinate together to advance their shared goal of toppling President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. They are decentralized out of necessity, to ensure the continuity of the uprising amid Assad’s brutal crackdown,” she writes.

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