Milestone Institute organized a public lecture on the Syrian conflict. Al-Hakam Shaar and Armenak Tokmajyan, both fellows with personal and expert knowledge of Syria at CEU’s Center for Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery (CCNR), introduced some of the international and local aspects of this protracted conflict.
Tokmajyan addressed two main questions: Why is the Syrian conflict international and why is it difficult to solve? According to him, with the involvement of several powers, such as the US, Russia, Turkey, Saudi-Arabia and Iran, there are several clashing interests and visions about Syria’s future. Each actor, after having invested heavily in the crisis militarily, politically, diplomatically and financially, is looking forward to a resolution that would please them. But how to do this with conflicting visions?
Shaar explained the various local and regional issues that are causing or arising from the conflict in Syria. He reminded the audience that While ISIS succeeded at grabbing the world media attention with their apocalyptic propaganda and atrocities committed against foreign journalists and aid workers and local Arabs and Kurds alike, the Syrian regime has killed far more Syrians than any other party and continues to do so with daily air strikes on civilian areas, especially ones outside ISIS reach, such as Eastern Aleppo that has lost three quarters of its population to deaths and forced migration both into safer areas within the country and abroad.
Shaar then talked about his job at CCNR, where he is working with the ‘Aleppo Project”, whose aim is the reconstruction of Aleppo after the war by avoiding the key pre-conflict problems, such as marginalization and poor planning. The two presentations were followed by an active and lively discussion, with the audience challenging the presenters to further elaborate their stances and to nuance their analysis.