The result was a done deal. Under the prevailing circumstances, of course Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was going to win the presidential election. True, this time he had two opponents, but they were truly only for public relations [purposes]. Moreover, the election was held in an environment with no security in the country, at a time when a significant segment of the population has abandoned their homes and fled to other lands, and when armed groups rule over parts of the country.
No matter what, what is important is that despite a civil war raging for three years, Assad gets to keep his seat for a third seven-year term. The administration he heads can now boast about its presence and its legitimacy.
Most of the international community, including Turkey, had been demanding, before anything else, the removal of Assad to solve the Syrian crisis. The West insisted on this in Geneva, but thanks to Russian support, Assad remained standing. Even if the election is described as a farce, it proved that Syria will remain with Assad and there is no likelihood of a Syria without Assad.
There are several reasons why the tyrant of Damascus still keeps his power, despite all the death, destruction and pain. The key reason is the ability of the state mechanism and army to defend the regime by reacting mercilessly against the uprisings.
Another important factor is the fragmentation and incompetence of the opposition and resistance groups. These groups, with the involvement of jihadists, are now fighting each other.
Assad knew how to exploit the passivity of the international community and consolidate his own position. Now the main question is: How will Assad use his power in the coming period? Will he opt for a military option to suppress the uprisings or will he strive for a political solution within the framework of the Geneva accords?
It is obvious that the military option is not going to solve the problem. It only prolongs the civil war, causes more bloodshed and agony. It is well understood now that Syria is a “war without winners.”
Not only the Assad regime, but the opposition fighters, too, have learnt their lessons.
In reality, nobody has won anything from the Syrian crisis. Everybody has lost. Unfortunately, Turkey is among the losers. Our government’s policy had predicted a new Syria without Assad. But all the predictions of our officials about the Assad regime turned out to be futile. In the meantime, by supporting the opposition and resistance, Turkey became a party to the conflict.
Today, Assad is still standing. Turkey, on the other hand, is facing a refugee problem that has so far cost $3.5 billion. Various jihadists and al-Qaeda groups are operating in our border region. The policy we followed has caused problems in our relations with many countries in our neighborhood.
This is why we have to start thinking about Assad still ruling Syria.