Syria in 2000’s

Syria in 2000’s


In December 1999 the negotiations between Syria and Israel resumed, with the Washington summit, where, in January 2000, thanks also to the mediation of President Clinton, the foreign minister, Farouk al Shara, met the Israeli premier E. Barak with whom it tackled the problem of Israel’s withdrawal from the Golan Heights, while Syria for its part pledged to remove its armed forces from the border. However, the negotiations were interrupted and, in June 2000, President al-Assad, reconfirmed through a referendum for a fifth term, died. His son Bashar succeeded him, nomination designated by the Parliament and confirmed, formally, by successive presidential elections. In April 2001, following the growing Christian-Maronite opposition to the Syrian presence in the surroundings of Beirut and, also as a consequence of the new political course undertaken by Bashar, the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon began. The Syrian government had opposed the US Middle Eastern policy in 2001-2003 (military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, support for Israel).

In recent years, Syria had in fact moved closer to Iraq, starting commercial relations with the Iraqi regime as part of the Oil for food program. In 2003, during the Iraqi crisis, the US government repeatedly accused Syria of having supported the Iraqi regime in various ways and of continuing to protect international terrorist organizations. President Bashar, for his part, assured that Syria did not provide assistance to Iraqi war criminals. In fact, in January 2004, Bashar made a trip to Turkey which had the purpose of reconciling the two countries and was committed to the fight against Islamic terrorism, above all thanks to the work of his intelligence services. In April, Syria also suffered a terrorist attack in the capital. In February 2005, after the assassination of former Prime Minister R. Hariri in Beirut, the international community pressured Damascus to withdraw the remaining troops and intelligence personnel from Lebanon. In May, the government announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Iraq, interrupted after the first Gulf War. In 2007 Syria and the USA, despite the difficulties, resumed diplomatic contacts. In the political elections of the same year, the absolute majority of the president’s party was confirmed and reconfirmed with over 97% of the votes. In November, the Israeli air force bombed a military base in the north of the country, but despite this the two countries announced that they had undertaken indirect peace negotiations with the mediation of Turkey (June 2008). The news of the numerous riots that broke out in the Arab world triggered protests in 2011 against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which spread from the southern city of Dar’ā to the whole country. Despite the brutal repression, the demonstrations continued uninterrupted; President Assad tried to make some concessions, such as the constitution of a new executive and the withdrawal of the state of emergency that had been in place for 48 years, but he went back to repression, which caused thousands of victims. In November, the Arab League approved a series of sanctions against Syria, mainly of an economic nature.

In March 2012, according to usprivateschoolsfinder, Bashar  al-Assad accepted a peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan, envoy from the UN and the Arab League and sending observers to verify the difficult situation. In June, the UN mission withdrew due to increased hostilities, especially after the violent repression of the army loyal to the regime. After months of clashes between rebels and troops loyal to the regime, Syria plunged into a climate of civil war, with dramatic consequences for the civilian population. In August 2013, an alleged bombardment with chemical weapons by the regime triggered the reaction of the intrenational community, and the reaction of the UN which voted for a resolution for the destruction of Syrian chemical arsenals. In 2014 the clashes between government and rebels continued, also involving northern Iraq, where the fundamentalist IS coalition (Islamic State) was formed, for the formation of a great caliphate. In the same year al-Assad was again sworn in as president, while a new government took office in August. In the north of the country, dozens of young Muslim Europeans flocked to join the ranks of the IS. The situation was also of great concern in light of the barbaric executions of Western hostages documented by grisly videos. In 2015 the political-military alignments were multiple: the pro-government army, the rebel army, aided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the IS forces, headed by Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Kurdish forces and the international coalition. In this context, in October 2015, Russia intervened in the war to fight IS and took sides in the international coalition, led by the United States.

Syria in 2000's