The Current

Peace in Syria elusive as major foreign players complicate civil war

Just across Turkey's porous border the Syrian civil war rages. Turkey is one of a list of countries with a vested interest in what happens in Syria. Today we look at what four key countries are angling to influence in Syria's ongoing war.
A Syrian boy walks with a bicycle as families flee the area following air strikes by Syrian government forces on a marketplace in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on Aug. 16, 2015. (Sameer Al-Doumy/AFP/Getty Images)

Read story transcript

On Feb. 27, 2016, a Syrian ceasefire proposed by Russia and the U.S. is due to take effect.

The Syrian government, the Syrian opposition and rebel groups have all announced conditional acceptance of the terms. ISIS and other militant groups have not. 

A man reacts amid debris after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Apr. 27, 2014. (Hosam Katan/Reuters)

This ceasefire is just the latest diplomatic foray into a Syrian civil war that has ravaged the country and its citizens for years. Few believe it will hold. 

More than 250,000 Syrians are dead and millions more have been forced to flee their homes. 

A Syrian man and two children await to receive treatment at a make-shift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, following reported air strikes by regime forces, on Aug. 30, 2015. (Abd Doumany/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the biggest challenges is the number of foreign players who are influencing the fighting inside the country. Russia, Turkey, Iran and the U.S., all have their own competing interests in the conflict. 

The Current convened a panel to examine why each of these players is involved in Syria, and how they want it to end. 

Guests in this segment focused on four of the major foreign players:

  • U.S. - Stephanie Carvin, professor of international relations at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.
  • Turkey - Merve Tahiroglu, specialist in Turkey and research associate at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
  • Iran - Rex Brynenprofessor of political science at McGill with a specialty in the Middle East.
  • Russia - Anna ArutunyanRussian-American journalist and author of The Putin Mystique.   

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Liz Hoath.