The Munich Agreement tentatively brokered an end to some of the fighting. But it doesn’t stop assaults against “terrorists” which the US, Russia, Britain and the Syrian regime interpret in any way they choose.
Both the US and Russia are perpetuating the war in order to buttress their own influence.
Russian air strikes have continued around Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city before the war began. Two hospitals were attacked on Monday killing at least 17.
And the US is continuing to channel support to its own allies in Syria. Amid the chaos, the Turkish and Saudi Arabian governments are considering air assaults and even a ground invasion into Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabian jets are arriving at the Turkish base of Incirlik.
This is where the US, Britain and France presently fly bombing raids in the region from. At least eight Saudi jets are expected to arrive soon.
Cavusoglu added that “Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch an operation from the land”.
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir has declared of Syria’s dictator, “There will be no Bashar al-Assad in the future”.
The Turkish government wants to stop forces fighting for Kurdish national liberation from establishing a permanent presence in northern Syria, which borders Turkey.
It wants to strengthen its own power in the region and eliminate the Kurdish resistance.
It has unleashed a murderous assault on Kurdish areas in eastern Turkey and now seeks to hit other areas.
Last weekend Turkish artillery shelled areas of Aleppo province in northern Syria held by Kurdish forces.
This had led to tension with the US, which wants to cynically use the Kurds against Isis. Turkey is part of the US-led Nato alliance.
US defence secretary Ashton Carter gave his blessing to operations into Syria by commandos from Saudi Arabia and UAE. This made the US position clear.
And the US has raised no objection to Saudi Arabia’s preparations to launch the largest military exercise ever conducted in the Middle East.
The operation dubbed Northern Thunder features 20 pro-US countries. Kurds should have no faith in US claims of support.
Even more chilling is the reality that any invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia would lead to a further bloody escalation.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev had already said that any incursion by Saudi troops could lead to a “new world war”.
He also said, “A ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war.
“The Americans and our Arab partners must consider whether or not they want a permanent war.”
US secretary of state John Kerry responded that the US “is testing Russian and Iranian seriousness, and if they’re not serious, then there has to be consideration of a Plan B. You can’t just sit there.”
The cost of war
Five years of fighting following the Syrian regime’s assault on a popular revolutionary movement have had a catastrophic impact.
About 18 months ago the United Nations said 250,000 people had been killed—it then stopped counting.
A report last week from the Syrian Centre for Policy research said 470,000 had died and nearly two million wounded.
Almost half the population has been driven from their homes—over six million to other parts of Syria, and more than four million abroad.
Life expectancy has dropped from 70 in 2010 to 55.4 in 2015.