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UN: Syrian Rebels Need To Get Over It, Accept They’ve Lost Fight Against Assad

Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images.

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

Syrian rebels must accept that they’ve lost the years-long long civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, noted in a statement that the end of the civil war is nigh because of all the countries that have converged on Syria to fight against the Islamic State, which is soon to lose its last strongholds, Reuters reports.

ISIS is barely hanging on to Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, two main outposts of the terror group. In particular, ISIS has moved back its main leaders and top units from Raqqa and other cities to Deir Ezzor, which is now under heavy assault by the Syrian army aided by Russian airstrikes. The Syrian army recently broke through ISIS’ three-year siege of the city and is now battling counterattacks from militants.

“The fact is that Deir al-Zor is almost liberated, in fact it is as far as we are concerned liberated, it’s a matter now of a few hours,” Mistura said.

Given the imminent defeat of ISIS at Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, Mistura wondered aloud whether the Syrian government will be willing to negotiate with opposition forces, rather than declaring victory.

“The issue is: is the government, after the liberation of Deir al-Zor and Raqqa, ready and prepared to genuinely negotiate and not simply announce victory, which we all know, and they know too, cannot be announced because it won’t be sustainable without a political process?” Mistura asked

“Will the opposition be able to be unified and realistic enough to realise they did not win the war?” Mistura added.

When further prompted on whether his statement meant that Assad had won the war, Mistura answered: “I am not the one to write the history of this conflict … but at the current moment I don’t think anyone can actually claim to have won the war.”

What seems clear, however, is that Syrian opposition forces are in no position to dictate terms to the Assad regime by force, even if Mistura is hesitant about making proclamations that Assad has won.

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