Peacekeeping Force Possible in Syria; Negotiations Ongoing
U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Keeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, confirmed that plans are underway regarding a peacekeeping force to Syria, should the regime and the opposition agree to a cease-fire. The final decision will be contingent upon the U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s ability to negotiate the cease-fire, preferably before Eid al-Adha on October 26, and a confirmation vote by the U.N. Security Council. The regime has continued to conduct air raids on Aleppo and neighboring districts “and the daily death toll continues to exceed 100,” according to the Director of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman. On 22 October, anti-Assad militants engaged Jordanian soldiers while attempting to “illegally enter Syria,” leading to the death of one Jordanian soldier.
A U.S. Department of State official declared“the onus of this kind of violence” as resting “squarely on the Assad regime.” Human Rights Watch also released a report on October 23, disproving the Syrian Army’s denials regarding the use of cluster bombs. According to a recent interview with Steven Heydemann of the United States Institute for Peace, Turkish citizens are also gravely “concerned about the possibility of war with Syria,” given the “economic and social consequences” as well as the potential for a refugee crises. Howard Eissenstat recently wrote that although the Turkish government has taken a “tough stance against the brutality of the al Assad regime,” they also have a dismal record on human rights. Eissenstat highlights the fact that freedom of speech is greatly limited and that a war with Syria could even be used by Turkish officials to increase ethnic violence against Kurdish populations and other minorities. On another note, Andrew J. Tabler and Jeffrey White of the The Washington Institute outlined their approach to identifying potential U.S. allies in Syria, should the next administration attempt to increase support for the Syrian opposition.