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Current Situation 2022

It is January 2022, and the Syrian Civil War has been raging on for ten years. Since early 2021, a majority of the hostility has ceased, and the Assad regime has reasserted control over much of Syria. Pockets of rebel groups, formerly the Syrian Democratic Forces, hold out in remote areas of the country. More pressing to the Assad government, the Kurdish forces have stabilized large swaths of territory. Although there has been no official truce or cease-fire, both sides, suffering from low morale and exhaustion, have lacked the momentum to engage one another on the battlefield. President Assad has given firm instruction that he will not allow the Kurds to split away from Syria, but he is rumored to be open to an autonomous region–though he would never admit to this publically.

Relations with the Russian Federation

The Assad government has relied heavily upon Russia to support its war effect. The President has made private deals with the Russian government, guaranteeing them sea and air rights, rights to natural resources, a 99-year naval base, and the right to open and operate an elite forces army base in Syria. The concessions to Russia have been noticeable and demoralizing to the regime, but Assad felt he had to no choice if he wanted to maintain his grip on power.

Over the past two years, after Assad granted all of these concessions, the Russian military seems more interested in defending its strategic assets in the country than propelling the Assad government to final victory.

US Engagement

With his re-election in 2020, President Donald J. Trump never backed off of his plan to leave Syria. US troops withdrew completely in a clumsy and embarrassing way. The US left behind tens of millions of dollars of equipment, most of which was quickly fought over and captured by either Kurdish forces or Islamic fundamentalists, the remanents of ISIS.

The Trump administration has continued to pull the US away from long-standing alliances. It reduced its contribution to NATO in half, as President Trump promised he would if all countries failed to meet his new requirement of contributing 5% of GDP to the defense pact. With NATO defanged, Syria has seen an influx in private militias.

Kurdish Forces

The Kurds have found a home in Eastern Syria, but not by choice. President Erdogan of Turkey has cemented almost unchecked power in Turkey and its military. In 2020, after President Trump disrupted NATO, Erdogan took a larger role directing his military. As a result, Turkey has led increasingly hostile raids and attacks on the Kurdish population in his country. Many of fled across the border, into Syria.

The Kurdish forces now operate autonomously and remain a beacon in the country. They have set up functioning judicial systems, transportation systems, and supply line and trade. While no country has officially recognized a Kurdish state, several have diplomatic outposts. Many view the Kurdish controlled region as more legitimate a country than Syria.

Questions to Consider

  1. How should the Assad government deal with a more prominent and organized Kurdish population?
  2. Should the government of Syria address its troubles with their Russian allies?
  3. What role does Syria have in the international community? What countries can it build new alliances with?
  4. How can the government begin the process of rebuilding Syria?

Simulation Instructions

The Assad government’s meeting is crucially important to the future of Syria. Russia, the only true ally of Syria over the past ten years, continues to take advantage of its concessions for aid and assistance. The United States seems to have abdicated its role in the region. The Kurds continue to gain more legitimacy. Delegates must grapple with these issues and respond to new updates. The committee will work as a crisis committee, with each delegate given purview over his portfolio of powers. The committee will pass directives by majority vote, but President Assad will ultimately decide on the direction of the country.

Committee Positions

Transport Minister
Social Affairs Minister
Economy and Foreign Trade Minister
Information Minister
Awqaf Minister
Finance Minister
Unity Minister
Electricity Minister
Justice Minister
Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister
Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister
Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
Health Minister
Interior Minister
Presidential Affairs Minister

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