The settlement of the devastating civil war in Syria is one of the hottest topics in today's world. There are four key countries involved in the conflict. This paper analyzes each country's interests and positions in this war. USA Washington supplied arms to moderate insurgent groups fighting against government troops of the country's president Bashar Assad and the Islamic State (IS), and conducted training for the rebel units. In July 2017, the United States stopped supporting moderate opposition in an attempt to improve relations with Russia. More recently, the US sent weapons to units of Syrian Kurds fighting against IS in northern Syria.
Since the end of 2014, the US has been heading the international coalition, which includes about 60 countries, including Germany. The coalition makes air strikes against the objects of the "Islamic state" and other radical Islamist groups. At times, aviation attacks are also targeted against the Syrian government army. In April 2017 the US President ordered a missile attack on the Syrian airbase in response to a Syrian chemical attack on civilians in Idlib.
A year later, in April of 2018, after a chemical attack in Duma, the US, UK and France had rained down more than 100 missiles on Damascus. After the election of the new president, the US is still actively fighting the IS. The remaining goals are not so obvious. In September, President Donald Trump told reporters that "in Syria, the United States does not withhold anything except the destruction of the" Islamic state. "However, in July 2017, Washington took an active part in negotiations to conclude an armistice between government forces and opposition forces.
The new US administration also stated that it will not focus on the resignation of the Syrian President Bashar Assad", which the predecessor of Donald Trump Barack Obama insisted that" Assad must leave". Washington supported the annual peace talks under the auspices of the United Nations with the participation of representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition. However, the participants of these meetings, held since 2012, did not reach any agreement. The main point of disagreement in recent negotiations in February-March was the question of whether Assad's resignation should be a condition for a final peaceful settlement of the conflict. Russia Moscow officially acts on the side of the government of Syria led by President Bashar Assad.
Russia supplies arms to government troops, supports them with air strikes and renders diplomatic assistance to the Syrian government at the UN and at international peace talks. In October 2015, the Russian Air Force created first strikes against targets in Syria after the Federation Council approved the use of Russian aviation abroad. The Kremlin claims that in Syria, Russia is fighting the "Islamic state" and other terrorist Islamist groups. US officials have repeatedly refuted this claim, arguing that Russian air strikes are directed mainly against insurgent groups that are not connected with the IG, but are fighting with Assad. Moscow wants to preserve the power of Bashar Assad, their closest ally in the Middle East and strengthen his military influence in the region. Russia has two military bases in Syria: an airbase in the western province of Latakia near the country's main port and a naval base in the Syrian port city of Tartus.
The Russian government supports a peace agreement between the Syrian moderate factions, which would allow Assad to remain in power. Russia also showed its readiness to support the limited autonomy of the opposition forces in some regions of Syria. Russia supports the Geneva talks on Syria and is one of the organizers of negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition, which started in Astana in January 2017. In October, the Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian Federation would be the organizer of another round of talks in Sochi, that already took place on November 18, 2017. The main topic of this meeting has been the discussion of the new constitution of Syria. Turkey Turkey supports non-Kurdish opposition groups, including the Syrian Free Army (SFA) - one of the largest armed groups in Syria, fighting with the government of Bashar Assad.
Ankara inflicted air strikes on the objects of the "Islamic state" within the framework of the international coalition led by the United States. Turkey also carried out a series of air attacks against Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria and sent ground troops to the country to fight the IS and Syrian Kurds in the framework of the military operation Shield of the Euphrates, conducted by the Turkish armed forces with the support of the SFA in the province of Aleppo. Ankara seeks to destroy the "Islamic state" and other extremist Islamist groups responsible for terrorist attacks in Turkey. The government also hopes to weaken the forces of the Syrian Kurds, fearing that their success in the civil war in Syria can give impetus to the Kurdish struggle in Turkey. Ankara wants to put an end to the Syrian conflict and supports the idea of ??a united and stable Syria, hoping that the stabilization of the situation will stop the flow of refugees to Turkey and contribute to the return of the Syrians who took refuge in Turkey. Ankara does not have a clear position regarding the resignation of Assad as a necessary condition for concluding a peace agreement.
Turkey supported the peace talks organized by Russia in Astana, but it rejected the offer of presence in the forthcoming meeting in Sochi because of the planned participation of the Kurdish opposition in it. Iran Tehran supports the government of Bashar Assad at least since 2012. Large-scale military support includes the delivery of weapons, military training and the exchange of intelligence. Speaking on the side of the Syrian president, Iran conducts a direct and indirect struggle with both radical and moderate groups within the Syrian opposition.
The elite Iranian military-political formation The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) participates in the military operations of the Syrian government. In addition to Syria, Iran has almost no allies in the Middle East. Supporting Bashar Assad, Tehran acquires a partner in confrontation with its traditional opponents - Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran also needs the support of Syria in delivering weapons to the Lebanese radical Shiite movement Hezbollah, which is fighting against Israel. Iran joined the Geneva peace talks in November 2015 after Washington agreed with Tehran's participation in the meeting. Together with Russia and Turkey, Iran was also one of the organizers of the talks in Astana.