The New Lines Institute will occasionally publish analyses from unnamed but informed sources to protect their identities.
Inside regime-controlled Syria, many ordinary people seem to be hoping, even praying, that a peace process kicks off in whatever form, whether under American, Russian, or Emirati supervision. They see this scenario as the only way out for their decade-long conflict and external pressure.
Moscow has used Washington’s retreat as a way to counter Turkey’s ingress and fill the vacuum left by ISIS. Meanwhile, the Kurds have used both the Americans and Russians to advance their own aspirations of statehood, playing each against the other while not really caring who delivers first.
Syrians will be voting for a new legislative chamber in July, the third election since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011. Most Syrians ridicule the election process since only pro-regime candidates are permitted to stand for office, and only after being vetted by security services, meaning there is no opposition in the Syrian Chamber of Deputies, neither secular nor Islamist, radical or mild.
The rift between Makhlouf and Assad is currently open-ended, threatening the Alawite community’s unity, a point of strength that made it survive – against all odds – since 2011.