On June 20, the Valdai Club hosted an expert discussion, titled “Syria: Halfway Home”, dedicated to the country’s return to the Arab League after 12 years.
The Syrian crisis has become one of the most acute and complex in the Middle East over the past 15 years. With the intervention of external forces, the civil conflict escalated into a war which threatened to disintegrate the country. In 2013, the crisis took on an international character when the US and EU countries declared President Assad illegitimate and launched pressure on Damascus through the UN and other international institutions.
Following an official request from Damascus, Russia provided military assistance to the Assad government, thanks to which the legitimate authorities managed to regain control over the country’s territory. Moscow also made a great contribution as a mediator, participating in the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva and launching the Astana process, whereby the “external” and “internal” opposition sat down at the negotiating tablefor the first time in 2018 in Sochi.
On May 7, 2023, the Arab League Council decided to bring Syria back to the organization after 12 years of suspension. Experts believe that this is a great diplomatic victory for President Assad and marks the gradual weakening of the influence of the United States and Western countries in the Middle East.
Can we talk about the Syrian crisis coming to an end? What is the priority task of Syrian foreign policy after returning to the Arab League? Will Syria be able to resolve the accumulated contradictions with Turkey? Can China become a leading player in the region? What role will Russia play in the post-conflict settlement? Participants of the expert discussion tried to answer these and other questions.
Maria Khodynskaya-Golenishcheva, Professor, Department of Applied Analysis of International Problems, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russian Foreign Ministry; Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry
Igor Matveev, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria (2014-2019)
Working languages: Russian, English.