What will happen in Syria after Lausanne?

The Syria talks in Lausanne ended without any concrete results on Saturday. Turkish media outlets are now reporting that Moscow and Ankara have agreed to clear the besieged city of Aleppo of al-Nusra Front fighters. The news provokes divided reactions from the press.

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Ankara reveals contacts with Al-Nusra Front

According to Turkish media reports President Erdoğan promised Putin in a phone conversation that he would order al-Nusra to withdraw from Aleppo. The opposition paper Cumhuriyet finds it all very strange:

“It shows who has Al-Nusra's respect, whose word carries weight in this organisation, and also that this relationship is no secret. Al-Nusra is fighting in resistance and does not want to leave the besieged Aleppo, but Putin knows that Ankara can persuade it to and has asked it to do so. ... If Ankara manages to persuade Al-Nusra to withdraw, should this be regarded as a success? On the one hand yes, because it would stop more people from dying pointlessly. On the other hand no. ... The population is right to ask what type of support secures influence with a terrorist organisation.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Moscow won't force Assad to compromise

The current round of Syria talks now threatens to fail because the supporters of the Assad regime don't want peace, writes Tages-Anzeiger:

“Syria's president Bashar al-Assad told the Russian paper Komsomolskaja Prawda openly and treacherously what he really wants: to 'purge' Aleppo and recapture the entire country. He always wanted a military solution rather than a political compromise because that would mean the end of his rule. He knows he has Iran on his side; Syria is only of any value for the Islamic Republic if it is ruled by Assad. … The Saudis, Turks and Qatari, like the rebels, won't accept a solution that allows Assad to stay in control of the country. Russia has the power to force him to compromise. But Moscow is quite content with the man in power.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Merkel right to want tougher sanctions

Harsher sanctions against Russia like those Angela Merkel and other leaders plan to bring up at the next EU summit are just what is called for now, Hospodářské noviny believes:

“It is encouraging that at least Merkel isn't entirely indifferent to Syria's fate. She wants harsher sanctions against Moscow, which is razing entire districts to the ground and bombing hospitals and aid convoys. This would be the right step - a very hygienic one for international relations defined by the American inactivity, European meekness and bloodthirsty Russian expansionism. The question now is whether any support for the Chancellor's plans will be forthcoming at the EU summit, for instance from the Czech Republic.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Peace only possible with new state borders

In an article for Corriere della Sera political scientist Angelo Panebianco explains why a tougher stance on the part of the next US government vis-à-vis Moscow could bring a breakthrough in Syria:

“Paradoxically, a president who shows no leniency toward the Russians could be attractive for them. He would grant them the international status they crave. This would also be the case if Russia is asked to campaign for a peace agreement in the Middle East alongside the US and to help the local agents involved in the conflict to redraw the geopolitical map. There will be no peace in the region (nor will the terrorist threat in Europe recede) as long as the old state borders set by the Western powers following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire aren't given up after reaching an understanding with all sides.”

Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Germany must push for UN resolution

The blockade in the UN Security Council can be overcome, taz points out:

“Based on the experiences in the Ukraine conflict the sanctions against Russia which Chancellor Merkel is now pushing for are not an effective means for changing Moscow's policies. They would only escalate the East-West confrontation over Syria and intensify the blockade in the UN Security Council. This blockade could be overcome through a resolution of the UN General Assembly with four demands directed at all the parties involved in the conflict - a ceasefire, the suspension of all airstrikes, no more weapons deliveries to anyone and unhindered access for aid supplies to the suffering population. … Germany, a middle-size power which is not without influence and which commands the respect of many member nations, should take the initiative for a resolution at the General Assembly as soon as possible.”