The Syrian conflict has entered its seventh year, claiming more than 465,000 Syrian lives, caused injuries to over a million, while over 12 million Syrians — half the country’s prewar population — have been displaced from their homes. Thousands of the displaced Syrians are spending lives in squalor; most remain unsure of ever returning home. After world conscience was moved by the images of Syrian children perishing in their attempts to escape the ravages of war, several European countries accepted some of the displaced Syrians. Unfortunately, in the garb of Syrian refugees, some terrorists also slipped in with the asylum seekers, causing disorder through sporadic terror attacks. This affected the spirit of hospitality being offered to the Syrians, adding to their woes.

The Syrian conflict is an offshoot of the Arab Spring, which erupted in 2011, toppling Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. Civil unrest began in Syria in March 2011 and gradually propelled out of control.

Independent analysts like Chris Kanthan, author of Syria–War of Deception, in his exposé: ‘Libya, Syria, Ukraine—Same Playbook, Same Puppet Masters’ published on November 7th 2017, point out that the chaos and mayhem in Ukraine, Libya and Syria is a clever but ruthless playbook of regime-change. He opines that the coup is carried out in many stages: Stage 1: Planned Protests; Stage 2: Protesters killed, leading to outrage and UN resolutions/sanctions; Stage 3: Armed mutiny and attempts to force the government out; Stage 4: If Stage 3 fails, sponsor a full-fledged civil war to overthrow the government.

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The difference in Syria is that Russia stepped in to stem the rot and check the forcible regime change. Unfortunately, some Muslim states, critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also supported a regime change. Weapons and money poured from the outside to fuel the civil war. Less than 1 per cent of the population joined the Syrian armed militia. Thus the ‘revolution’ faltered after a few months, and tens of thousands of foreign jihadists were flown into Syria, resulting in the emergence of a new threat: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which captured nearly seventy per cent of Syria.  ISIL wreaked havoc in the territories under its occupation, slaughtering the civilian population, looting and plundering centuries old heritage.

The tables turned in September 2015, after Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War, after an official request by the Syrian Government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups.

Turkey joined Russia in targeting the ISIL but after a mishap in which Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Air Force SU-24 on 24 November 2015, the relations soured temporarily but were renewed after intense diplomatic efforts on both sides. The US joined the fray by supporting the Syrian opposition which added to the chaos.

Aided by Russian and Turkish forces, Syrian government forces managed to liberate the territory from ISIL, capturing the town of Abu Kamal, the last major stronghold of Islamic State on 8 November.

A large part of the terrorist arsenal found in Mayadin, Syria, comprised weapons, supplied by the NATO countries, including those manufactured in the US, Belgium and the UK

The fourth round of the intra-Syrian talks, held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana in May 2017 finalised an agreement for creating four de-escalation zones across Syria, with Russia, Iran, and Turkey serving as guarantor states. Three of the safe zones have been created to date in Syria’s central province of Homs, in the Eastern Ghouta area of the southern Rif Dimashq province, and a south western militant-controlled stretch along the border with Jordan. They have sharply reduced fighting in the conflict zones. Concerted efforts are on for the creation of a fourth zone in Syria’s northern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey and is under control of al-Nusra Front Takfiri militants.According to Press TV, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart in Turkey’s capital Ankara during a visit to the country, pointed out that the de-escalation zones have created the “de facto conditions necessary for the end of the fratricidal war in Syria and the final defeat of terrorists as well as for the Syrian people’s return to normal life.”Unfortunately, the plot thickens as according to Russian News Agency TASS, the Syrian military with the support of the Russian space forces seized the largest warehouse of weapons and armored vehicles of the ISIL from the just liberated city of Mayadin. Until recently, Mayadin was the most powerful fortified area of terrorists in Eastern Syria and was awarded the status of ‘capital’ of the ISIS.The Syrian military took a group of reporters to Mayadin, where they saw satellite communication systems, radar equipment, medical devices and a plant for the production of drones used by the fighters for reconnaissance and precision bombing. The reporters were shocked to note that a large part of the terrorist arsenal comprised weapons, adopted by the NATO countries including latest models of weapons manufactured in the USA, Belgium and the UK. The Syrian conflict will end only if the Occident stops aiding the terrorists.

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