Syrian Constitutional Committee meets in Geneva as Assad strengthens grip on power

A 150-member Constitutional Committee will meet in Geneva today to begin discussing a new constitution for war-ravaged Syria. An agreement

syria constitutional commitee

Photo: Beshr Abdulhadi

A 150-member Constitutional Committee will meet in Geneva today to begin discussing a new constitution for war-ravaged Syria.

An agreement was reached under which the Assad government, the Syrian opposition and “civil society” each sent 50 representatives to serve on the panel. Delegates from the so-called “Astana three”—Russia, Iran and Turkey—and seven other Arab and Western states will also be in attendance.

Talks are on track to be productive today with Turkey’s October 9 cross-border offensive resolved, for now. Turkey and Russia—the Assad government’s main ally—agreed to a peace plan calling on Kurdish forces to withdraw more than 30 miles from the Turkish border.

While delegates have already begun drafting a constitution for the country, the focus for the first day of talks will be the overarching issues resulting from the civil war, namely Syria’s political future and the refugee crisis that has displaced millions.

Although delegates from the Assad government and the opposition will be represented equitably today, each side will not be treated equally. Assad has effectively won the war by driving the last rebel forces to the Idlib province. Any long-lasting agreement will need to acknowledge this reality while also establishing a plan for long-term stability, which may include a power-sharing agreement.

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