DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO DAMASCUS?
Al-Khaleej al-Jadeed, UAE, October 24
The American media has been waging an incessant war against [US President Donald] Trump, often portraying mere speculations about him as truths set in stone
Last week, the Nasib Border Crossing, once the busiest border crossing located between Jordan and Syria, reopened for traffic. The crossing had been closed since 2015, when it fell into the hands of the Free Syrian Army, and had remained shut since. Last week this finally changed, when Jordanian authorities reopened the crossing.
Jordan is not the only country to begin restoring formal ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. On its western front, Syria’s border crossing with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights was quietly reopened in recent weeks, most notably to allow the reunification of Druze families. The same happened on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq, where the Abu Kamal crossing had been reopened in recent weeks. All of these developments seem to suggest that Assad is on the right path toward gaining the international recognition and legitimacy he needs.
Yet there is still one Syrian border crossing that remains highly problematic: that in the north, between Syria and Turkey. The territory surrounding the Turkish border is dominated by two separate blocs: Kurdish separatists on one side and Turkish forces on the other. Both seek to exert their influence in the region and have the final say over what happens in this territory. In order to reaffirm his sovereignty, Assad is in desperate need of settling the final status of these borders and restoring his power over them.
However, tensions between Moscow and Washington cast a heavy doubt over his ability to do so. The Americans want to ensure that no border crossing is used to facilitate the movement of Iranian troops or armaments into Syria. Moscow, meanwhile, has no real influence over a peace agreement in Syria without the support of Europe and the United States. In this vacuum that has been created, Assad is doing anything he can to gain a de facto authority and define the final borders of his country. – Abd al-Wahab Badrakan