Considering all that has been described here, it is difficult to imagine a solution in the near future. Proposals do exist however : they depend on the courage and the will of the protagonists to adopt them. A review of the latest diplomatic initiatives show progress, but also the long road ahead.
The conflict has been raging for over five years now. A just solution with a diplomatic scenario stipulating the end of combat and a political solution to the conflict seems increasingly remote.
The negotiations engaged in Geneva by UN mediator Steffan de Mistura have not permitted any advancements. The last round in April 2016 was cut short as the opposition, represented by the High Negotiation Committee, found it impossible to remain at the table while the regime of Al-Assad continued to bomb civilians when a cessation of hostilities had been decided in order to give a chance to the negotiation process. Both Moscow and Washington had seemed favourable to such a process in response to the growing force of Daech, but nothing came out of this.
- The creation of protected zones in the North and the South of the country, covered by Western and Turkish aviation, in order to protect the population from attacks by the regime, is no longer on the agenda, despite the fact that this option would be a means for the opposition to enlarge its capacity for action and bring humanitarian aid to populations living in dramatic conditions.
- The obtention of a cease fire allowing the end of combat: all the attempts to this day have failed and this option would necessitate the presence of strongly comitted regional and international sponsors who could force respect by the different groups and the government of Al-Assad.
- The resumption of negotiations: the conditions for this are not reunited today even if the pattern is known and rests on parameters defined by the communiqué delivered in Geneva in June 2012: a transition government in charge of the enforcement of the cease fire and the implementation of new institutions, taking into account the realities of the field.
- These different hypotheses imply that the battle against Daech be reinforced in order to succeed in eliminating this force, after which the question will be who will control the territory.
- Lastly, what will become of Bachar Al-Assad? It is evident that he will not have a place in post-conflict Syria, even if his departure is no longer imposed as a condition for future negotiations.