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Syrian conflict may last for decades, expert says

The Syrian conflict may be worse than the Palestinian-Israeli one, according to Valery Garbuzov

MOSCOW, April 16. /TASS/. The conflict in Syria may last for decades due to disagreements between the major external players, especially between Russia and the US, where "War Hawks" have been gaining power following John Bolton’s appointment as the US National Security Advisor. Director of the Institute for the United States and Canada at the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Valery Garbuzov told TASS about it on Sunday.

"The Syrian conflict may be worse than the Palestinian-Israeli one. [It] may even [last] for several decades," the expert said.

Speaking about the situation around Syria, Garbuzov pointed to a recent reshuffle in US President Donald Trump’s administration. "Hardly anyone can compete with Bolton now regarding his ‘Hawk’ stance," the expert continued. "He is very sophisticated and experienced. He is seized by the idea - maybe even more than Trump - to ensure American dominance and prevent the appearance of a state that could defy the US."

According to Bolton, Russia is a country that defies Washington, Garbuzov noted. "I do not rule out that Bolton took pains to ensure the adoption of this specific decision [about strikes on Syria,]" he added.

Ankara’s position is raising questions, he noted. "Turkish President Recep [Tayyip] Erdogan either supports Russia, or supports the US’ strike, so the situation is unclear," the expert said. "Syria is a problem that does not unite efforts of the involved external players," Garbuzov noted.

Domestic problems

The expert also pointed to the absence of clear solutions to Syria’s domestic problems. In his opinion, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is currently incapable of addressing problems faced by the country independently. "With Syria’s tribal difference and the wounds inflicted to it, Assad cannot deal with all difficulties that his country is facing. And there is no other leader that could act as a banner to join the Syrians," he added.

At the same time, according to Garbuzov, the situation could be even worse without Assad. "If Americans started establishing order there, it would lead to a greater chaos," he noted.

Garbuzov named the threat of terrorism among other factors that could extend the conflict in Syria. "The victory over IS (Islamic State, a terror organization, outlawed in Russia - TASS) is just words, because only the military ‘hot’ stage of the fight against has ended. Where are these IS members? Most of them were scattered, but they may become active any moment," the expert added.

The Syrian Kurds’ fate is another important factor, the director of the RAS Institute for the US and Canada said. "The US is actively using ‘the Kurdish map’ now; Americans need them to clean Syria from terror groups. But how will they be used tomorrow? Against Assad, of course," he said.