Libmonster ID: BY-2408
Author(s) of the publication: B. V. DOLGOV

B. V. DOLGOV

Candidate of Historical Sciences

Center for Arab and Islamic Studies IV RAS

Keywords: Syrian crisis, patriotic opposition, armed Islamist opposition, Western goals, information war, political solution

According to the Syrian authorities, there are more than one thousand armed anti-government groups operating on the territory of Syria, each of which has a number of fighters ranging from a few to several thousand.

FROM ARMED GROUPS TO ISIS

The total number of militants is difficult to determine. According to various sources, the approximate number of them is 70-80 thousand. Their most significant forces are represented by Islamist groups-Jabhat al-Nusra (Victory Front), Jaish al-Fatah (Victory Army), Ahrar al-Sham (Liberators of Syria), Junud al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), Firaq Allah (Brigades of Allah), Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), Jabhat al-Sham (Syrian Front), At-Talia al-muqatila"(Fighting Vanguard) - the military wing of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood; groups associated with Al-Qaeda. And also - "Al-Jaish al-Hurr al-suriy" (Free Syrian Army-CCA). The FSA is considered the least "Islamized" group, led by an officer who defected from the Syrian government army.

Since 2014, ISIL ("Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" - ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi Iraq wa-sh-Sham, Arabic) has been actively expanding its terrorist activities in parts of Syria and Iraq.

ISIL emerged in 2006 during the occupation of Iraq by the US and its allies. At that time, this Sunni Islamist group was fighting both the occupying forces and the Shiite Iraqi community, on whose representatives the United States relied in its policy in Iraq at that time. However, the main goal of ISIL was to create an "Islamic State" (IS) in Iraq and neighboring countries.

This slogan is proclaimed in the very name of the group - "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant "(Levant is the Latin translation of the Arabic term al-Sham, which is used in the name of ISIL and means the region that includes modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and part of Jordan). After the beginning of the civil conflict in Syria in 2011, ISIL took part in it on the side of radical Islamist groups that fought against the government army of the leadership of Bashar al-Assad.

During this period, the leading NATO countries, including Turkey, as well as the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, supported all the Syrian opposition forces that supported the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, including ISIS. ISIS militants have seized several areas of the remote province of Raqqa in Syria, where the majority of the population is represented by Sunni Muslims, and announced the introduction of Sharia law and the creation of an "Islamic State".

ISIL's governing body was the Advisory Council of Jihadists (Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen). ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was declared the head of the Islamic State. IS has declared its intention to build its state institutions "in accordance with Sharia law" and even print its own passports and currency.

Successful advance of IS militants in the Ira-


Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa today. 2016, N 3.

page 2

In the summer of 2014, this was largely due to the fact that Islamists took advantage of the discontent of some Sunni tribes in northern Iraq with the dominance of Shiites in the country's leadership and the infringement of Sunni rights. ISIS intervened in the conflict between the Sunni community and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

With some support from Sunni clans, IS launched an offensive deep into Iraq, capturing a number of cities, including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and advancing towards Baghdad. Moreover, Islamist militants captured a large number of American-made weapons abandoned by the retreating Iraqi army. At the same time, according to news agencies, former soldiers of Saddam Hussein's army who had experience in using such weapons joined the ranks of the IS.

In the occupied areas, ISIS carried out repression and terror against national and religious minorities (Kurds, Shiite Muslims, Yezidis, Christians). Among those executed by IS militants, according to foreign media reports, was a Shiite judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to death in 2003. IS leaders threatened Jordan and tried to extend their influence to Lebanon. However, this was successfully countered by the Lebanese army and the armed formations of the Hezbollah movement that supported it.

The leadership of the Islamic State appealed to " all Muslims to support the Islamic state and stand up for it." This call was probably accepted to some extent, since a significant number of foreign mercenaries from the Arab-Muslim world, the European Union (EU), the United States, Russia, as well as Uighur Muslims from China are currently fighting in the ranks of the IS. IS has become the center of attraction for radical Islamists around the world. Moreover, along with jihadist mercenaries, those who believe in the triumph of the "Islamic state", based, according to their statements, on "just Sharia laws sent down by Allah", also come to lead the "jihad".

It should be emphasized that a significant part of Islamist militants are represented by foreign mercenaries from more than 80 countries of the world. The militants of these groups are waging a terrorist war in Syria and commit barbaric crimes. For example, Syria's Information Minister Imran al-Zaabi confirmed that "radical Islamist groups used advanced Western-made weapons, including multiple launch rocket systems, artillery, and chemical warfare agents in the densely populated areas of Khan Asal, Ghouta, and Hama, as well as in other areas, resulting in the death of a large number of civilians." 1.

The Minister also pointed out that radical Islamists " destroy the heritage of the Syrian civilization-historical and architectural monuments of different eras, temples, churches, mosques, monasteries, and among them unique complexes in the cities of Maaloula, Seidnaya, Palmyra, and Aleppo. Hundreds of representatives of the Syrian intelligentsia, teachers, scientists, religious figures, Muslims and Christians were killed by them, and thousands of civilians were killed by militants during mass massacres in the districts of Deir az-Zor, Hama, Homs, Latakia, Daraa, Jisr al-Shuhur, Aleppo."2

For example, in the city of Homs, five well-known scientists were killed by militants. Since March 2011, more than 900 schools in Syria have been burned down and several hundred teachers killed. Representatives of various Syrian faiths, such as the Mufti of Syria, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Syrian Church, the abbess of a Catholic monastery, in their speeches strongly condemn "terrorist murderers and those who put weapons in their hands and send them to Syria"3.The fate of the Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, whose son was killed by Islamist militants because the mufti refused to join the foreign anti-government opposition, is significant and tragic.

WHY IS ASSAD SUPPORTED BY THE MAJORITY OF THE SYRIAN PEOPLE

It should be noted that if at the beginning of the protests in Syria, a part of the population, including the intelligentsia, took part in them and demanded early democratization and regime change, then, as terrorist groups become more active and violence increases, the opposition is increasingly replaced by support for the country's leadership and its proposed reforms.

This is confirmed, for example, by the social polls reported on February 11, 2012 on the Euronews television channel by Ammar Waqqaf, a member of one of the Syrian social forums. According to him, from 60% to 75% of respondents support Bashar al-Assad. The same position is held by the Syrian Christian community, as Mariam Agnes, a well-known public figure, abbess of the Catholic monastery of St. John the Baptist, confirmed in an interview with the author of these lines. James, one of the largest in Syria*.

Ms. Agnes spoke about cases of shelling of Christian churches by armed Islamist groups, the killing and abduction of clergymen, and the expulsion of Christians from areas captured by militants.-


* The Syrian Christian community has over 2 million people out of Syria's 24 million population .

page 3

Agnes, in particular, stated that she does not understand "why the EU countries support radical Islamists in Syria and indifferently observe the exodus of Christians from the Middle East".4.

The author of these lines, during repeated trips to Syria between 2011 and 2015, saw mass demonstrations in support of President Assad. The most impressive of them, which gathered several tens of thousands of people, was held in the central part of Damascus in Al-Umawiyyin (Umayyad) Square. The speech was delivered by Bashar al-Assad, whom many Syrians see as a true national leader.

This was also confirmed by the results of the presidential election on June 3, 2014, which was an important milestone in the political development of Syria. For the first time in the country's history, several candidates participated in them - the current President Bashar al-Assad*, a member of parliament, a representative of the left-wing democratic forces from Aleppo, Maher Abdel Hafiz Hajar, and a former minister, a businessman of liberal views, Hassan Abdel Illahi al-Nuri. According to the law, candidates must have received the support of at least 35 deputies of the 250-seat Legislative Assembly (Parliament), the candidate must have been at least 40 years old, of which he has lived in Syria for the last 10 years. The applicant was not allowed to have a foreign citizenship.

Elections were held in all 14 provinces of Syria, with the exception of the remote and sparsely populated province of Raqqa, controlled by IS militants. Moreover, due to the high turnout, voting in the elections was extended for five hours.

As a result of the vote, Bashar al-Assad was elected president of Syria with an overwhelming advantage, with 88.7% of voters voting for him. Hassan Abdel Illahi al-Nuri received 4.3%, while Maher Abdel Hafiz Hajar received 3.2%. The turnout in the elections was 73.42%5.

The support of President Bashar al-Assad has shown that only the current regime can provide a safe and peaceful life for ordinary citizens by suppressing extremist Islamist groups, which include many openly criminal elements that commit barbaric crimes against the civilian population.

The so-called external opposition represented by the National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (NCORC), based in Qatar, whose leaders are mainly represented by emigrants who left Syria many years ago, has no support in the country. The majority of the population does not support the armed Islamist opposition fighting against the Syrian authorities, the main groups of which are Sunni jihadists who declare their goal to create an "Islamic state" or "caliphate"in Syria.

Nevertheless, leading NATO countries, including Turkey, support the external Syrian opposition, accuse the Syrian leaders of "brutally suppressing popular protest" and seek to overthrow the current Syrian leadership in any way to achieve their geopolitical interests in the Middle East.

GOALS OF THE WEST AND ITS ALLIES

The United States and its allies, especially Israel, a strategic ally of the United States, see Syria as an enemy and ally of Iran, with which Syria has long-standing, since the Iran - Iraq war of 1980-1988, allied ties, including on a confessional basis (the Syrian Alawite community, professing one of the directions of Shiism, is widely represented in the Syrian government structures).

At the same time, Israel and the United States view Iran, despite all the agreements reached with it on the Iranian nuclear program, as a hostile state. For the United States and Israel, weakening Iran and minimizing its influence in Iraq are strategic goals. The United States and Israel have repeatedly accused Syria of supporting "international terrorism", namely, anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement. Therefore, regime change in Syria is in the interests of these countries.

The Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf, which have opposed Iran and seen it as a potential threat since the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, take a similar position. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which now have considerable influence in the Arab League, strongly support the Syrian Islamist opposition and are trying to open the way for foreign military intervention in Syria. In this respect, the interests of the Persian Gulf monarchies coincide with those of the leading NATO countries. Nevertheless, such Arab League member countries as Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan, and a significant part of the Jordanian socio-political forces do not support the Syrian opposition.

Turkey, as a member of NATO, follows in line with its global policy in the Syrian conflict.


* In May 2007, according to the Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic, the current President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, was re-elected for a second presidential term in a nationwide referendum, receiving the support of 97.62% of voters.

page 4

crisis. At the same time, Turkey has its own strategic interests in Syria. The support of the Turkish leadership for Syrian Sunni Islamist groups, some of which are fighters of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, is due to the fact that the current Turkish leadership, represented by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is moderate Islamists ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood association.

Turkish President Erdogan was a member of the leadership of two Islamist parties in his youth, and during the military regimes in Turkey, he served a prison sentence for publicly expressing his commitment to Islamist ideas. In this regard, it is no coincidence that as a result of the trials in 2011 - 2012 of a number of senior officials of the Turkish army accused of anti-government conspiracy, 650 active senior officers and 250 retired ones were jailed.: These are the so-called "Kemalist elite", i.e. those who were adherents of the secular ideology of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

The Erdogan regime is islamizing the country's socio-political life. This is manifested, firstly, in the nomination of active members of the AKP, as well as members of Sufi tariqas (orders), in particular, such as Naqshbandiyya and Iskander Pasha, to key positions in the leadership of the state. Sunni Islamic values are playing an increasingly important role in socio-political and cultural life. In this regard, the overthrow of the secular Baathist regime in Syria and the likely rise to power of Syrian Islamists would meet the interests of the Turkish leadership led by Erdogan.

Secondly, the Turkish leaders position themselves as the successors of the Ottoman Empire and, pursuing a policy of "neo-Ottomanism", seek to consolidate for Turkey the role of a regional center of power and even the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, as the Ottoman Empire was. Therefore, expansionist tendencies towards Syria are present in Turkey's policy. At the same time, Turkey does not forget that Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years (XVI-early XX centuries). Therefore, the dismemberment of Syria, which is quite possible in the event of a hypothetical fall of the Assad regime, also meets the interests of the Turkish elite.

Third, Turkey's political interests aimed at overthrowing the leadership of Bashar al-Assad coincide with the similar position of the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf, primarily Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These countries seek to eliminate Syria as an ally of Iran and thereby weaken Shiite Iran, which they see as a threat to their regimes and which they currently oppose in the conflict in Yemen.

Turkey, which competes with Iran for leadership in the region, is also interested in weakening it. At the same time, the Turkish pro-government establishment and political scientists justify their support for the Syrian armed opposition by claiming that "a popular revolution is taking place in Syria, which is a continuation of the revolutions in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s." The author heard such rhetoric while participating in an international conference in Turkey in March 2012

Turkey supplies weapons to Syrian anti-government armed groups, which are purchased with money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Turkey, in the area of Adana (100 km from the Syrian-Turkish border), near the Incirlik US military base, where US military personnel and intelligence officers are stationed, there is a command center of the Syrian armed opposition.

The region of Syria located along the border with Turkey, where mainly the Syrian Turkish-speaking population (Turkomans) lives, is actually occupied by Turkey. There are also armed Islamist groups fighting against the Syrian government army and covering the passage of fuel trucks with Syrian oil captured by IS and its sale at low prices to Turkish firms associated with the Turkish leadership. In turn, the IG, also having millions of profits every day on this "business", finances its terrorist expansion in this way. It was these targets that were targeted in November 2015 by a Russian Su-24 bomber that was deliberately shot down by Turkish fighters*.

At the same time, the Erdogan leadership is pursuing a policy of military suppression of the Kurdish national movement, as well as repression of other opposition forces. It should be noted that a significant part of Turkish society does not support Ankara's anti-Syrian policy. This is confirmed by mass protest demonstrations and critical statements in the press by representatives of the parliamentary opposition. For example, Berkat Kar, from the Turkish opposition Peace and Democracy party, confirmed in an interview with the author that the Turkish authorities are carrying out pressure and repression against opposition forces and the opposition press. So, according to him, a number of headquarters of political parties reflecting the interests of the Kurds were set on fire, and their representatives were killed. On trumped-up charges are-


* For more information about this incident and the reaction of foreign media, see: Vinitsky D. N., Meshcherina K. V., Petrov N. I. The last flight of the Su-24 / / Asia and Africa Today. 2016, N1.

page 5

Journalists are being shut down and opposition publishing houses are being shut down.

In this regard, we can note the closure of the well-known newspaper "Jumhuriyet" and the arrest of two of its journalists, who wrote an article confirming the supply of weapons by Turkish authorities to Islamist militants associated with the IS and fighting against the Syrian government army in the border areas of Syria with Turkey. Moreover, these journalists were accused by the Turkish authorities of " aiding and abetting terrorists." Berkat Kar also noted "the possibility of Turkey's descent into an authoritarian fascist regime." 6

Along with the economic losses from the curtailment of relations with Syria, internal instability is growing in Turkey. The activities of Kurdish radical organizations are becoming more active, and extremist and criminal elements are entering Turkey along with refugees from Syria, which also destabilize the internal situation in the country.

At the same time, an open and cynical information war is being waged against Syria, involving more than a hundred international news agencies, the most active of which are Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Euronews, CNN*.

SYRIA ON THE FRONTS OF THE INFORMATION WAR

In accordance with the Arab League's decision, initiated by the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, Syrian government TV channels were blocked and it was impossible to watch them in neighboring countries. Many independent foreign journalists who worked in Syria spoke about the information war against Syria. One of them is Thierry Meyssan, a well-known French journalist and creator of the independent Internet site 7. According to him, the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, for example, to broadcast a report on mass anti-government demonstrations in Syria, created a montage with several dozen extras and a decoration of a Syrian street - something like a "Hollywood village".

As one of the curiosities of such an information war, one can also consider the appearance in a Polish newspaper (shown to the author by Polish journalists). Gazeta Wyborcza a photo reprinted from a Western publication depicting a mass demonstration, described by the newspaper as "a demonstration of protest against the Assad regime." Those who know Arabic can read on a placard held by one of the demonstrators the inscription: "The Palestinian people support President Bashar al-Assad."

In the French media, especially on television (the author of these lines may have watched these programs during his stay in France in 2012), almost daily reports were transmitted about " civilians killed in Syria as a result of the actions of the Syrian army." Moreover, the sources of this information were usually not reported, although there were well-known figures of the Syrian opposition abroad in France, such as the former chairman of the "Syrian National Council" (SNC) Burkan Ghalyun and the representative of the "Interaction Committee", which has its office in Paris, Issam Manaa.

At the same time, we must admit that the French press publishes materials that try to objectively assess the situation in Syria. There are also people in French journalistic, academic and intellectual circles who sincerely want to help the Syrian people. The author of these lines, during his stay in France and participation in a colloquium on "Arab revolutions" at the Institute for the Study of Islam and Muslim Societies (IISMM) in May 2012, heard speeches by French political scientists who spoke about the real situation in Syria (the supply of weapons to Syrian militants from Libya and from the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, terrorist actions "opposition").

At the initial stage of the conflict, the Syrian leadership was losing out in the information war, and external forces that used the media under their control were largely able to form a favorable position in world public opinion. This is not surprising, since the most powerful world news agencies opposed Syria, which did not disdain distorting the actual situation and outright disinformation. In 2014-2015, the situation in the information field began to improve somewhat, mainly due to the activation of the Syrian and Russian media, as well as a number of European journalists who objectively covered the conflict in Syria.

Moreover, the Syrian authorities provided foreign journalists with the opportunity to visit the sites of clashes and interview local residents and internal refugees from areas captured by extremist groups. At the same time, two international conferences "Mass Media in countering terrorism" were held in Damascus in July and November 2015, which were attended by more than 200 media representatives from Arab-Muslim countries, as well as Russia, China, the United States, England, France, Sweden, and Is-


* During his stay in Syria in August 2011, the author of these lines, after visiting Hama as part of an international delegation, watched a report on this visit on CNN, where it was claimed that the delegation was attacked, as a result of which two members of the delegation were injured, which was a blatant lie.

page 6

During his stay in Syria in 2012, the author had the opportunity to meet and talk with French independent journalists who wrote a report during our delegation's visit to Hama. In this city, you could see the results of the actions of the "rebels" - the destroyed and burned House of officers, where soldiers and their families were burned alive; weapons seized from the militants; photos of executions of Syrians loyal to the authorities, also captured from the militants.
The story of the well-known French TV journalist Gilles Jacqui, with whom the author also spoke in Syria shortly before his death in January 2012, is also indicative.J. Jacqui was shooting a report on the Syrian "popular resistance" for the France-2 TV channel. He tried to find "popular opposition to the regime" everywhere. Unable to find one in Damascus, he went to Homs, where he began filming interviews with a group of people he took for "oppositionists" (in reality, they were residents of the area, complaining to him about the excesses of the Free Syrian Army-FSA). At that moment, it was the FSA fighters who fired at the gathered people, and one of the mines exploded at the feet of Zh. Jacqui. He died in front of his common-law wife, who worked as an operator in his group. After the death of Zh. Jacqui the above-mentioned M. Agnes, Abbess of the Catholic Monastery of St. John the Baptist.James, who knew J. R. R. Tolkien well. Jacqui, in an interview with the author, exclaimed with tears in her eyes that " there is no opposition in Syria, there are only bandits who kill people."



pani. As a result, the international media structure "Mass Media against Terrorism: International Damascus Information Network"was created.

Maysar Sardia, a member of the Jordanian Parliament who participated in these conferences, pointed out that at present, the media, which is one of the important values of democracy, " become complicit in the bloodshed and destruction of the heritage of civilization when they lose their objectivity and sense of responsibility and act at the behest of those who finance them."8. In turn, the Deputy Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah party said that Syria, with the support of friends, will not submit to the plans for a new division of the Middle East and will become the mainstay of the Middle East fighting and defending its honor and dignity.

It should be noted that in Syria, as confirmed by Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaki, despite the fact that part of the industrial infrastructure has been destroyed by the actions of terrorist groups, nevertheless, thanks to the help of friendly countries, primarily Russia and Iran, hundreds of enterprises continue to work9, whose employees regularly receive salaries*.

Despite a significant reduction in the arable land used, Syrian agricultural structures that produce vegetables, fruits, and olive oil continue to operate, but there is a shortage of grain products. It should be noted that before the crisis began in 2011, Syria was almost entirely self-sufficient with agricultural products, and some of them, such as olive oil, were exported.

The Syrian government, despite the ongoing confrontation with terrorist groups, is already developing a program to restore destroyed industrial and civilian facilities. The Syrian higher education system continues to function. As representatives of the leadership of the University of Damascus** confirmed to the author, 130 thousand students continued to study at its walls in 2015; across Syria, although with interruptions, 24 of the 27 existing universities in Syria continue the educational process.10

RUSSIAN AID AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

The main task for the Syrian leadership continues to be the suppression of anti-government extremist groups that terrorize the local population. In 2015, according to the Ministry of Information of the SAR, 85% of the Syrian population lived in the territory controlled by the government army. The population of Damascus has almost doubled due to the influx of refugees from areas captured by Islamist militants, who are leaving residents fleeing Islamist terror.

In this regard, Russia's role in resolving the Syrian crisis is growing. Russia and Syria have historically developed relations of friendship and cooperation in the economic, military and humanitarian spheres.-


* The Syrian government continues to pay salaries even to civil servants located in the territories captured by the militants. This is done through a specially developed system for issuing cash to representatives of these civil servants and agreements with the armed detachments that control these territories (author's note).

* * On 19.11.2015, the author had the opportunity to give a lecture on the history of Russian-Syrian relations (in Arabic) to students of the Faculty of Journalism of the University of Damascus.

page 7

in the socio-political, cultural, and humanitarian fields. Many families in Syria, as in Russia, are represented by mixed marriages, their children speak Russian and Arabic. Syria is currently one of Russia's few allies in the Middle East.

Russia is defending its national and state interests and national security in Syria. Syria for Russia is the front line of defense against radical Islamism, because it is obvious that in the event of a hypothetical collapse of the Syrian statehood and the Islamists coming to power in Syria, the next blow of the terrorist "jihad" will be directed, including against Russia, as the leaders of the IG openly stated, threatening to "liberate" the regions of the Caucasus and the south of Russia.

The fight against radical Islamism cannot be reduced only to its military suppression, since Islamism has developed its own ideology, which enjoys sufficient support of some Muslims.

In this regard, it seems that in order to successfully counter radical Islamism and its ideology, along with military measures, a set of measures is needed that includes both solving socio-economic problems and promoting classical Islam, in particular, explaining the concept of jihad*, where the fight against one's own shortcomings is put in the first place, and " holy war"it is proclaimed only in case of aggression against Islam.

As for the prospects for resolving the Syrian crisis, they are assumed within the framework of the political process. Nevertheless, it is obvious that a political solution is impossible without suppressing radical Islamist groups, primarily such as the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. In this regard, the role of Russian military support increases in cooperation with the Syrian government army and countries such as Iraq, Iran and all forces that are really fighting against radical Islamism.

Moreover, the CSTO and SCO countries can play a more active role in this struggle, which is confirmed by the negotiations of the Syrian Foreign Minister with the leaders of China, which took place in December 2015. As for the coalition of states led by the United States, judging by its actions, the goals of this coalition continue to be not so much the fight against IS, but rather the removal from power the leadership of Bashar al-Assad. That is why it is extremely difficult for Russia to really engage with the United States and its allies in the fight against ISIS.

The UN decision taken at the end of 2015 to start the political process, which provides for the creation of a transitional government within a year and a half on the basis of negotiations between the Syrian leadership and representatives of the opposition forces, to develop a new constitution and hold free elections, seems to be a real basis for resolving the Syrian crisis.

An important step in this direction was the ceasefire agreement between the Syrian government army and opposition armed groups, reached as a result of an agreement between Russia and the United States and entered into force on February 27, 2016. At the same time, the cease-fire does not apply to the IS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups and their affiliated armed groups, which are being suppressed by both the Syrian government army and the Russian Aerospace Forces.

However, a political solution to the Syrian crisis does not seem to suit Turkey, first of all, as it attacks the positions of the Kurdish self-defense units fighting with the IS and declares its right to send troops to the territory of Syria. US statements about the possible "division of Syria and the removal of Assad from the political process" also do not contribute to the resolution of the crisis. Nevertheless, negotiations between representatives of the Syrian government and various forces of the Syrian opposition should be the first stage on the path of the political process.


* Jihad (Arabic) - effort, giving all your strength and abilities for the sake of spreading and celebrating Islam. From the 9th-10th centuries, the dogma of four types of jihad was formed: jihad of the heart, jihad of the tongue, jihad of the hand, and jihad of the sword (holy war).

1 Muwajahat al-irhab (Opposition to terrorism)// Al-thawrah (Revolution). Damascus. 25.07.2015.

2 Interview of the author, who was part of the Russian delegation, with the Information Minister of the SAR Imran al-Zaabi. 26.07.2015. Damascus. Author's archive.

3 Kuddas ala arvah shuhada' (In memory of the dead victims) / / Baladuna (Our city). Damascus. N 1784. 10.01.2012.

4 Interview with Mariam Agnes 5.01.2012. Damascus. Author's archive.

5 Al-intihabat al-riasiyyah (Presidential elections) / / Al-thawrah (Revolution). 5.06.2014. Damascus.

6 Interview with Berkat Kar. 16.11.2015. Damascus. Author's archive.

7 http://www.voltairenet.org - 12.06.2012.

8 Al-harb al-irhabiyya (Terrorist War) / / Al-thawrah...

9 Meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaki on 16.11.2015. Damascus. Author's archive.

10 Interview with the leadership and teachers of the University of Damascus 19.11.2015. Damascus. Author's archive.


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