ALGIERS – Syria ends the year 2018 with the reinstatement of the authority of the State on almost the whole national territory after the victorious advances of the Syrian Arab army, parallel to the diplomatic efforts to through the talks in Astana and Geneva, with the hope of reviving the political process developing a new Constitution.
The Syrian government, which managed to bend armed terrorist groups, regained full control of several areas after military operations and surrender agreements with armed men, requiring the transfer of tens of thousands of people to other parts of the country.
By reinstating the authority of the state with the registration of fewer deaths among civilians in this conflict, Syria held on September 16 its first municipal elections since 2011. More than 40,000 candidates were in the running for 18,478 seats in all provinces.
The year 2018 was also marked by bombings in April by Western countries (the United States, the United Kingdom and France), under the pretext of destroying alleged chemical weapons of that state, following the chemical attack allegedly perpetrated on April 7 in Douma ( Damascus ), according to Western countries, accusations denied by Damascus and Moscow.
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The Syrian skies are now protected by the recently deployed Russian S-300 air defense system, a decision taken after a Russian plane was shot down in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike.
Note that the Syrian government is calling on the UN for the "immediate" withdrawal of US military personnel, France and Turkey present in Syria, denouncing "an illegal coalition that is causing chaos, death and destruction "in the country, while the conflict has left some 400,000 dead and millions displaced since 2011.
In this context, an eleventh round of talks, initiated since January 2017, of the Astana process sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey ended on 29 November. The Astana process parallels other discussions on Syria in Geneva under the auspices of the UN.
Nevertheless, the situation in Idleb (north-west), the last great insurgent stronghold in Syria, remains at the center of discussions. The establishment of a "demilitarized zone" at Idleb was the subject of an agreement on September 17 in Sochi (Russia), between Russia and Turkey. The implementation of this agreement stumbled upon the terrorists' refusal to desert this buffer zone.
UN Efforts to Establish the Constitutional Committee
Politically, the Syrian government says it is "ready to react positively" to initiatives aimed at ending the crisis provided that they preserve the sovereignty, independence and unity of Syria and that the Syrian people decide the future of his country without any outside interference.
With a view to finding a way out of the conflict, the envoy of UN for Syria, Staffan de Mistura insisted on an agreement before the end of December for the establishment committee to draft a new Constitution for that country. The first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee is scheduled for early 2019.
Indeed, the UN has been working since January on the composition of the committee which is to draft a new Constitution and include 150 people: 50 chosen by the government, 50 by the opposition and 50 by the UN to include in the reflection representatives of civil society and experts
But the Syrian government opposes its membership as proposed by the UN. He wants to make a proposal for this third list, in coordination with Russia, Iran and Turkey.
The objective of the Constitutional Committee is to draft a new Constitution for the Syria . This committee would therefore be responsible for laying the groundwork for a fundamental law leading to elections, in order to turn the page on seven years of conflict.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denounces "the pressure exerted by some Western countries and the region to impose their will on the Syrians," saying that these actions "seriously impede" the achievement of any progress in the political settlement of the conflict.
In this context, the Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen has been named the new UN envoy for Syria, becoming the fourth negotiator to find a peaceful solution to the conflict now in its seventh year.
Progressive return of Syrian refugees to their country
Since the Syrian government triumphed over victories over armed terrorist groups and regained control of vast areas of the country, Syrian refugees have been returning to their homeland. Dozens of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon have returned to Syria. In total, according to UNHCR, 13,000 refugees returned to Syria in the first six months of 2018.
Lebanon hosts 1.5 million refugees – almost a third of its population – of which less than one million are registered with UNHCR. Nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon will return home by the end of the year, Beirut said in October.
In addition, thousands of Syrians who fled the violence in and around Idleb province have returned to their communities since the announcement of the Russian-Turkish deal on the ultimate great bastion of terrorist groups in Syria. .
Note that Syria is still undergoing a serious humanitarian crisis and this crisis affects about 13 million Syrian citizens and refugees, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator in Syria, Ali al-Zatari, who calls on all parties the conflict to allow access for humanitarian aid.
Time for reconstruction
After the liberation of the majority of Syrian territory from terrorists, the Syrian government examines the possibilities for rebuilding the country's infrastructure. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his "first priority" was the reconstruction of the country.
According to Damascus, priority will be given "to the main Syrian allies, primarily to Russia and Iran, especially the specialists of these countries who will rebuild and finance projects in strategic areas, for example, in the energy sphere. "
With regard to the funds needed for reconstruction, Syria believes that the international community is "responsible" for the conflict, "which is why it has to pay compensation."
In this context, specialists have calculated that the renovation of infrastructure would require between 260 and 1,000 billion euros because the destruction is very important. Current estimates suggest that reconstruction will take 10 to 15 years. The UN estimates the magnitude of the destruction at nearly 400 billion dollars (345 billion euros).
Similarly, Moscow believes that "the West should finance the reconstruction of Syria," hoping, however, that "Europeans will make concessions, since they have an interest in Syrian refugees returning home as quickly as possible. , always ".
Syria finds itself with destroyed infrastructure, a paralyzed economy, and several disfigured cities