The World From Berlin: ‘Exile May Be Assad’s Only Chance to Save His Life’
The clock is ticking on a UN-mediated ceasefire deadline on Thursday that no one expects the Syrian regime to respect. German commentators say Bashar Assad’s military power won’t prevent his downfall, and see rays of hope in China’s and Russia’s cooling stance towards him.
United Nations peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Wednesday that Syria had assured the world body that it will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in fewer than 24 hours. But President Bashar Assad’s forces is keeping up attacks in several cities, and few believe he is serious about stopping the bloodshed.
The West remains opposed to military intervention, though, and action by the UN Security Council has been thwarted by resistance from Russia and China.
German media commentators see a ray of hope in growing signs that China and Russia are starting to turn their backs on Assad — and in Turkey considering setting up a buffer zone in Syria to protect Assad’s opponents. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Syrian troops were “mercilessly” shooting fleeing women and children in the back.
Speaking during a visit to China, Erdogan said he would take unspecified steps after Syrian troops shot at refugees inside Turkey on Monday.
Editorials say Annan’s fall from power is only a matter of time but fear that many more Syrians will die before he is finally ousted. Exile, some say, is likely to be Assad’s only option to save his own life.
Conservative Die Welt writes:
“It looks as if the repressive Syrian regime will let its last opportunity for a negotiated solution pass. It is doing so in a complete misjudgement of the situation in which dictator Bashar Assad finds himself. There cannot and won’t be a political future for him in his country which he has betrayed, destroyed and divided. Homs, Hama or Deraa are filled with the rubble of his presidency and with a people filled with hate for the ruler it once so feted.”
“He is completely discredited. That is gradually dawning on the few remaining friends the lonely man in Damascus still has: Russia and China.”
“Militarily, the international community has exhausted itself in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. No one wants another adventure given the well-equipped Syrian army and an uncertain outcome. Turkey seems prepared to set up a security zone in the north of the country which could serve as a basis for the Syrian rebels to conquer the country. That would be the Libyan model.”
“Assad should enquire in Moscow about a ‘Yemeni solution’: exile and freedom from prosecution in return for peace and reconstruction. That is maybe the only chance for the eye doctor to save his life.”