Syria Will Not Return to What It Was Before the Civil War, Ya'alon Says

Defense minister sees Syria splitting into separate enclaves representing the main groups active in the fighting.

A poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria.
A poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, Syria.Credit: AP

"The situation in Syria is very complicated and it's difficult to see how the war there and the mass murder can be stopped," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Saturday during a visit to Munich for a security conference held in the city.

"Syria as we knew it will not reunite in the foreseeable future," the defense minister continued. "At some stage, I imagine we'll see enclaves, whether organized or not, of the various groups that are fighting there."

Ya'alon also referred to the deep involvement of other parties in the conflict.

Swiss Defense Minister Guy Parmelin, right, and Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon shaking hands during an official visit in Bern, Switzerland, February 11, 2016.Credit: AP

"Both Iran and ISIS are in Syria - and they are both bad choices," he said. "They are bad for Israel, for the Middle East and for the Western world."

"As long as Iran is in Syria, the country will not return to what it was and it will definitely have trouble stabilizing itself if it is divided into enclaves, because the local Sunni forces will not allow it."

"It's part of the Sunni-Shiite struggle and the Sunni do not intend giving up on the country."

Ya’alon met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the conference in Munich, the monarch's first meeting with a senior Israeli official in over a year.

Ya’alon’s bureau stated that the two dealt with bilateral relations between Jordan and Israel, with recent developments in the Middle East and with possibilities for advancing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

“One cannot talk about justice in the world without solving the Palestinian question and striving for a state for them," said King Abdullah in his speech at the conference. "If this isn’t resolved, the entire region will slide into a religious conflict and ISIS is exploiting this.”

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