With the EU preparing fresh sanctions against Syria, Russia says it will block any UN Security Council move to authorize military intervention in the country. It insists that dialogue is the only way out of the ongoing violence.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron denounced Syria’s president as a "wretched tyrant” killing “his own people." While Bashar al-Assad’s regime is under intense pressure from European countries and the US, dialogue between the conflicting sides is not expected to be easy.
How do you stop a fractured country from falling apart… a country where some cities now resemble a war zone, where the economy is on its knees and where children are being shot dead on the street? That is the question everybody is desperately trying to answer right now. Some call for military intervention – others call for dialogue.
“The Syrian case is not isolated,” Syrian journalist Thabid Salim told RT. “You have Turkey, you have the Iranian dimension, you have the Arab dimension, you have the Western dimension, you have the Russian dimension. Everybody has their own interests.”
When Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow would not authorize a United Nations Security Council resolution involving military intervention, it struck a resonant chord with the main opposition in the country.
“We refuse on principle any type of military foreign intervention because it threatens the freedom of our country,” said Hassan Abdul Azim, head of the Syrian opposition bloc National Coordination Committee.
The head of the opposition inside the country told RT he had met Russia’s Ambassador to Syria a few days ago and that the opposition will be in Moscow next month to continue dialogue. Official Damascus has promised to push through reforms, including parliamentary elections later this year, but the opposition says it is not enough.
“This could have been done in the past,” Hassan Abdul Azim said. “However, both the killing and the violence pushed the population and the opposition and the people not to believe any more in the promises of the regime.”
However, many in Syria right now simply want peace in their country and hope reforms may be a way to achieve that.
“The president announced we will have an expanded government and independent opposition,” one Damascus resident told RT. “If all the parts were included this would be better for us all. Having different opinions is much better than having a one-sided discussion.”
As the country descends deeper into crisis, everyone is desperate to find a resolution. It is hoped the government’s reforms might go some way to building bridges between the two sides. However, they have been a long time coming and with so many lives already lost, they are going to have come at a very high price.
The former British ambassador to Syria, Basil Eastwood, told RT that he does not hold much optimism that the crisis in the country will be resolved any time soon, with no effective opposition to replace President Assad.
“I do not think there is a B-plan,” he said. “Syria is sliding into a, probably, largely sectarian civil war. There is no government in waiting. There is this Syrian National Council, which is based outside Syria, which has a temporary president, but it does not command universal support amongst the dissidents and its links to those who are actually on the streets, whether armed or unarmed in Syria, seems somewhat tenuous at times.”