syria-warHow long before the war in Syria finally ends? As the conflict heads towards it’s fourth year, UN officials say they have now “run out of words” to describe the brutality of what is happening on the ground. Yet, despite years of bloodshed, neither the Assad government nor the assortment of opposition groups arrayed against him have been able to break the stalemate.

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has said it is now time to accept that Assad is “part of the Syrian reality” (though she added that Europe is still working “to make sure that Syria’s future is without Assad”). Mogherini suggested the EU would be willing to work with all actors, including Iran and Russia – both of which support Assad remaining in power – in order to finally bring the conflict to a close.

We recently spoke to Syrian opposition leader Hadi al-Bahra, President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. We put a comment to him that had been sent in to us by James, who believes it’s time to begin peace talks with all parties round the table – including Russia and Iran. How would al-Bahra respond?

We also had a comment from Deniz, who thinks that, after almost four years of civil war, it’s time for the EU to acknowledge that Assad is staying in power. Al-Bahra responded that he did not believe the Syrian people would accept such a situation after so much suffering had been inflicted:

It’s difficult to comprehend the scale of the crisis in Syria. Since fighting began in 2011, almost half of all Syrians have been forced out of their homes. The United Nations reports that almost 200’000 people have been killed in the conflict. To date, more than 9.5 million Syrians have been uprooted, with over 3 million fleeing across the border and a further 6.5 million displaced within Syria.


Is it time to accept that Assad is staying in power in Syria? Should all parties involved in the conflict – including Russia and Iran – start a new round of peace talks? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Gwenael Piaser

124 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Samo Košmrlj

    It is time for europe to stop meddling with things that are none of their business. Maybe for once we could stop destroying regimes which may not be perfect but atleast they are functioning, which are then replaced with worse kinds of political/social system

  2. avatar
    Gomes João

    The lack of solidarity i see in these comments is horrifying. There is no Us and Them… There are only humans, and we are all humans, we have the duty to fight those who oppose liberty, freedom and kill their own for the sake of maintaining power over the people. Bashar Al-Assad must answer for its crimes, and the World must not stop now that we’re closer than we ever were. ISIS controls most of the east of Syria, the Kurds control some parts in the North, the Free Syrian Alliance now holds strongholds in the north and the South. If Daraa falls, Suwayda will be stuck between FSA and ISIS and soon Damascus will fall as well. The West must support the FSA in its endeavour to destroy Assad’s regime!

  3. avatar
    Cristian Titus Raicu

    Syria is a completely fucked up country. On the one hand Russia wants to maintain military bases there and will keep Assad in power, on the other hand NATO and the EU wants to take the Russians out of there.
    Who pays is John Doe, Syrian version.
    The best solution would be to dismember the country. One part goes to Turkey, other to Iraq.

  4. avatar
    Gomes João

    I understand you, but it cant be done, because Iraq is also facing a war… Assad must be taken down first, then we’ll see…

  5. avatar
    Владимир Павлов

    It’s time you bought one way tickets to all the refugees from Syria. With destination to NATO warmongers countries, USA, UK, France, Germany, Sweden,Canada. Also dont forget the millions of refugees in East Ukraine that evil “Putin ” Russia took in despite the coming recession. Eurofascists

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Владимир Павлов

      Typical RAS-Putin lover!

    • avatar

      It doesn’t matter if you are a RAS-putin lover or not. You are right. If our governments have been so “worried” by the poor-Siria’s-citizens and their right to access to democracy, the least they can do is to open the borders to the refugees from Siria.

  6. avatar
    Dimitris Paschalidis-Valof

    So who told you that Assad is a dictator and lets dismember Romania between Poland and Moldova simple as that are you people gone completely delusional? Assad is loved by the majority of people in the country and the EU should stay out of it

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Dimitris Paschalidis-Valof
      ALL dictators are ‘loved’ by the majority of their citizens prior to overthrow.

  7. avatar
    Olivia Sena

    I honestly doubt it! Saudi Arabia didnt agree to do dumping and crush oil’ price, just because America nicely asked. It has to be a deal regarding Assad leaving. We shall see. I hope Assad goes to hell, not to Syria! For start, Kurdistan should get its independence.

  8. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    Yes, it is the time to accept that. Maybe persuade him to improve his government based on what people really want. Weapons are not the way.

  9. avatar

    Bashar al-Assad is Putin’s guy in the region. Al-Assad is a already established dynasty in Syria. Apparently he’s against IS, but in reality he’s just a dictator. So I wouldn’t question his “accidental death” in case that it happens.

  10. avatar
    Ahmed W Al-Humadi

    Who is represented the Syrian opposition?!! Dose he able to make a truce for a Christmas holiday!!? All the opposition you are with is the terrorist as usual!!!

  11. avatar
    Nelson Kenosis Aeternum Neto

    Congratulations by fucking the stability of Syria where western democracies talk about the freedom of Syrian people. The war brings murders, rapes, suicide bombings, starving, migration, families destroyed, prostitution, children in danger, thousands of deaths in the name of liberty and democracy (a excuse to make war) usa and the doggy European union always making shit. People who really have interest of geopolitical matters sociology and other disciplines know well what people want. I’m ashamed of being a European rulled by this governments

    • avatar

      I would blame mainly the Nobel Peace Laureate Obama, but you are right. What has been done to Syria is… there are no words strong enough…

  12. avatar
    Hassan Mtayrek

    i hope the terror that your goverments made it and ssent it to sirya will go back to your countries to see what you will do Al Assad is fighting the terrorists that your goverments laughd at you

  13. avatar
    Hassan Mtayrek

    …..and said to you we’ll go to Afghanestan to kill Ben Laden and to iraq and i don’t know where else . You live in europe so stay there and don’t listen to your liar goverments or come to sirya or near sirya to see what’s going on .

  14. avatar
    Hassan Mtayrek

    i’m not siryian but i see what’s happening in sirya and i saw whos’s cutting heads all this terrorists made in ( USA ,KSA, QATAR , TURKY )

  15. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    It is time to accept that there were elections in Syria and people chose Assad, even though many EU countries banned their Syrian refugees from voting which is in direct contradiction with European values.

    In the Middle East the culture is such that it is not possible for a Western type of democracy to exist at present. How many innocent people have to die in order for this to be understood by everyone? Egypt, Iraq, Lybia are all examples of that. If the Syrian opposition takes the power from Assad, it will simply replace it with its own authoritarian regime and kill more people. Then another part of the population will get angry and will fight against them and the war can continue forever. We see it already with the Islamic State extremists who were part of the opposition. There are also other groups fighting for power. Unifying a country in that region means establishing an authoritarian regime that is able to suppress extremists within the country. It is peace but it is based on fear, rather than democracy. Achieving anything more than that has to be a natural process, a result of the development of progressive forces in the society, not a foreign interference.

    Of course there should be talks with Assad because he was chosen by the Syrian people to represent them, but if there is no unanimous agreement on who to support, there should be no military action taken by any foreign forces. Only humanitarian help should be arranged for the people, with the main donors being rich countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia where all refugees could be accommodated and looked after until the conflict ends.

  16. avatar
    Denis Dergic

    Youve spoken to the opposition but did you try with the government? Or you only talk to who you wanna talk and hear to?

  17. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Uhhh he was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED via the ballot box was he not ? 3/4 of Syrias people back Assad .. To assume hes going anyhwere is outright stupidity, lastly why out the Leader who is fghting ISIS and doign a good job at it ?? US/U/Saudi need to accept they have created a monster that now threatens the world, not just Syria and the region, and the only man who can wipe up this ISIS filth is Syrian leader Assad.

  18. avatar
    Daniel Faria

    After “Assad is killing their own civilians” and “Assad has chemical weapons” by CNN’s FOX’s.. Rebels were armed, mostly inocents were killed and the country was bombed back to the stone age so… yea, I guess now Assad should stay.. –‘

  19. avatar
    Ecs Ferreira

    We, europeas, must concentrate in ours neibours, nort, africa. Help them to achive developement and fredom. Fredom of all kind. Only education kant do that

  20. avatar

    The situtation is so horrific, the number of death and the number of refugees are frightful and European governments do nothing to change it. Bashar al-Assad should be dismissed from his power, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Because the part of radical islamists of the opposition could take the power and it might be worse. So it is difficult to say if Bashar Al-Assad must stay in power or not..

  21. avatar

    Syrians only decide, but also all terrorists who came must back to the place where they com I know that this is painful for europe
    But we in Syria do not accept that these terrorists remain in our land

  22. avatar
    Rui Oliveira

    To prevent this type of radicalism we must assure a strong Education and the imposition of real etic values. Discipline and method: it’s a gain!

  23. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    Bien sur que oui . Rien n est pire que le califat et il a toujours protege les minorites chretiennes . Le culte de la democratie n est pas adapte. A certaind pays dont l unite n est possible qu avec de l autorite

  24. avatar
    Sakis Pastras

    Yes. He is far better anyway than any other option. Cant force western civilization to be the new rule!

  25. avatar
    Eurico BD

    We should help him, not fight him. Syria was a stable, tolerant and prosperous country, before this war.

  26. avatar
    Christopher Kwadwo Svanefalk

    Not sure why the west has to “accept” which government a sovereign country elects for itself. Are we really so deep into our own chauvinism that we don’t even realise the kind of empire-speech we are using when talking about other nations?

  27. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Why not he was VOTED via the BALLOT box, that thing the west is always preaching about “democracy” 70% of Syrians adore him, not much else to say, as for the so called “opposition” they should go home to rat holes they came from.

  28. avatar
    Peter Castermans

    there is no alternative. Except when you see a religious extremist as an alternative. Without these religious zealots, Syria was an acceptable country. And that was with Assad.

  29. avatar
    Umberto Banchieri

    What? Assad has no power, his force control just the capital. Is just a marionette of Iran and Hezbollah.

    Assad is nothing in this moment…

  30. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Accept? Why should it matter to us? And we should stay out. Our involvement in other countries like Libya, ans yes, Sirya has brought nothing but problems. If we stayed out of it, as well as the US, thousands of people would still be alive. But no, we have to go stick our noses in everything. Ask your self, should EU citizens accept EU government? I didnt vote for our sorry representatives. Maybe Rusia should give us weapons and we fight brussels? Thats what we are doing, sticking our nose in others matters. Ukraine, as well.

  31. avatar
    Jose Marcal

    Unless you want another country that turns just like Iraq, Lybia, it’s better to leave him in there. Lybia and Syria were the few countries where one could do business without problems, and especially Syria, a country known for religious tolerance. Do we want to change that?

  32. avatar
    Alessandra Fiore Salvatori

    We are late very late… As Eu we did allow that orrible life for Siria popolutions undar bombs and ecc ecc … The war must stop e assad must leave .

  33. avatar
    Ingo Vonsundahl

    Honestly, did anyone really expect of the EU to topple him? I certainly did not, judging from the past decade of EU foreign policy. (if there is such a thing as a foreign policy; the EU may have expensive politicians and clerks acting as “politicians” but they certainly do not develop, articulate or act out foreign policies)

  34. avatar
    Amir Khan

    thats is a europe and america policy they are supporter… they want wars in countries

  35. avatar
    Νίκος Σωτηρίου

    Assad is fighting against Islamic state that US created..We have to support him for the stability of the region..Look what is happening at ex-Qaddafi era in Libya…

  36. avatar
    Симеон Миланов

    It’s time to accept that everyrtime the West involves itself in the internal affairs of countries in the Third world and the former ”Second” world something wrong happens. I mean would Islamic state have weapons if the West didn’t supply the so calle Free syrian army? No, cause until 2014 or 2013 the ISIS were in some ways part of the so called democratic protestars and free syrian army. I cannot be against Assad, the man who protects syrian christians (that’s why his army is full with christians and the democrats are jihadist) , alawites and he even struck a bargain with the kurds. Well educated,open minded president and patriot against bunch of religious fanatic hordes – who do you support ? I think the answer is clear

  37. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    It is time to stop meddling… It always comes back to bite us… Either with terrorism in our own lands or refugees and migration….

  38. avatar
    Su La

    Bashar is far more better than ISIL.. so just let him

  39. avatar
    Antoine Che

    He’s more legitimate than most western “regimes” since he’s supported and elected by a large majority of Syrians.

    The question today should rather be:
    Is it time to accept that “the EU Commision”, “Hollande”, “Rajoy”, “Obama” stay in power?

  40. avatar
    Victor Sorin Popaliciu

    absolutly not! This basar al ashad is a tyran-deamon kept in power by the army of hypocrits-deamons called ISIS(name of an ancient pagan godess) …this ISIS hypocrits spread hate a false religion and they atack innocents all over the world in Paris,Iraq,Syria but they do not atack the palace of the tyrant bashar al ashad who has generated a hollocost and milions of innocents suffer from oppression….this ISIS deamons-hypocrits are the creation of the tyrant vladimir putin a deamon who wants to keep in power bashar al ashad the tyrant-deamon from Syria…tyrany,oppression,hollocausts this crimes against humanity must be stoped and condemned by all the good people of the world and European Union must sand for freedom,democracy,faith,truth,justice -like allways.

  41. avatar
    Christiane Vermoortel

    What a pretentious, conceited question ! Since when does the EU have to decide who is acceptable as an elected president in a foreign country or not ?

  42. avatar
    Tiago Do Val

    ofc, like Kadafhi in Libya, or Sadam in Iraque. Now look how this contries are? civil war everhere

  43. avatar
    Menelik Cc Ngene

    The earth life is a game. To win, you must learn to become champions of liberty and masters of the game of life. checkmate!

  44. avatar

    I don’t know. We have destroyed Syria to oust Assad. And now, when he is almost on his knees, we change sides (again) to support him. Y only sees more blood ahead. It’s so horrible, and shameful…

    • avatar

      Absolutely right

  45. avatar
    Fernando De Rojas Parets

    EU never act when is required. Citizens doesn’t expect absolutly nothing of European Union politicians because there is not any courage for a foreign policy.

  46. avatar
    Pier Giuseppe Losio

    The point is that the West does not understand itself, what, incredibly it did in Vietnam, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya … not to go beyond
    Tell me when the West has done something really politically right after landing in Normandy ..
    And Putin belongs in full to this story.
    And Putin did not see wrongly the matter, since the beginning. Or am I wrong?
    Maybe Romano Prodi could help a bit ‘about it. The only one I see on-line with the times we live. In Italy we preferred the excellent Mattarella, because Prodi now belongs to the world. The best President of the European Commission ever.
    That is my best thinking about the issue, at the moment…
    A couple of weeks ago he was at dinner with Vladimir, invited by him in Kremlin. The same shortly before and later in Peking.

  47. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    He should stay! I saw no reason for the uprising whatsoever, except for the case that somebody is really keen to turn Syria into a new Iraq.

  48. avatar
    Katrin Mpakirtzi

    Syrias war is complicated. Assad is accused for many crimes against his people that suffer a lot but there are others country all around who hate him. Jews because of iran and turkey because want LAND..A PART OF SYRIA. He is also Rusia’s partnair. So we don’t know the truth…….but the people must stop suffering and christians and minorities killed like animals in frond of tv from those NOTHING…FAILURES…CRIMINALS

  49. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    He was voted in, in short without Assad Syria will turn into Afghanistan or Iraq, a total hellhole on the Mediteranean shore.

  50. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    He should definitely stay! Things got much more worse in Iraq and Syria since we wanted “to import” democracy in those countries! We have to accept that not all parts of the world want our way of life system..

  51. avatar
    Giorgos Beitis

    what uprising? you mean how western powers tried to change the equilibrium of power without understanding the intricacies of the social fabric of Syria and the countries surrounding it, as they did with the arab “spring” resulting in a chaotic mess? I am sure IS has killed a lot more people in the past year that most of those evil regimes have over the past 5 atleast. I don’t even understand why Assad is still a topic to discuss when there is an elephant in the room that needs to be dealt with. I am guessing western media doing what it does best, manipulating public opinion.

  52. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    NO, EU should support a free elections there . He is using military and terror to stay on power.

  53. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    No! He should leave!… The “freedom fighters”… of ISIS should come in power! This is how you used to call them, 4 years ago! This is how you armed and financed them! Isn’t it???
    At least have the dignity to admit your criminal mistake, that is costing now the lives of millions innocents.

  54. avatar
    Michalis Pouros

    its time to accept that ISIS was created by wrong decisions and wrong methods to correct the situation in Syria…..

  55. avatar
    Gareth Pratt

    Not only is he in power but he’s also our “mate” against isis.

    “Oceania is at war with Eastaisa. Oceania has always been at war with Eastaisa”

  56. avatar
    Loïc Diels

    Nope, a war criminal is still a war criminal no matter how long he kills his own people to stay in power. No one wants the EU directly involved in a Syrian Civil War but that does not mean we should give up europe’s human rights values either

  57. avatar
    Rafael Cejas Acuña

    Difficult to say: he’s the same of the barrel bombs and chemical weapons…but the alternative of ISIS is terrible

  58. avatar
    Antonio Pinto Caldeira

    Leave Syria and syrians alone, its up to them to decide what they want for their country. If you think you should help them send them money to improve their living conditions send money to their NGOs and let them use it as they please.

  59. avatar
    Gorgios Everytime

    Accept it that he will stay in power. Arab spring has ended up in being the pivotal point where extremism has revived. And all because of the overthrow of the leaders that contained the extremists. Not all countries want and deserve democracy.
    Some countries are so culturally so complex that undemocratic methods have to be used in order to contain their societies from becoming violent in a mass scale.
    I do not support any dictator. But since they have been overthrow these countries not culturally capable of having a democratic system. They transition to democracy was not made gradually and peacefully and for this reason they will suffer.
    Syria is the only country that still has the chance to make a proper transition to democracy. But Assad has to stay in power and start reforms in order to achieve it.

  60. avatar
    Richard Cantal

    ISIS and The Arab Spring Rebels are Rivals, not Allies !

    What the West fears is Socialism
    The Arab Spring
    was founded on Social Reform
    which sent shivers down the back of The Arab Upper Classes from Bahrain to Turkey.
    The Bourgeois has always favoured Fascism to Revolution.
    And while factionalists like The Brotherhood have opened the door for ISIS and Al Qaeda, they are not ideologically associated.

  61. avatar
    Eduardo Branco

    We (europeans) dont have to accept that because is not our concern. Let history take it’s course! Do we think Syria or Iraq will be eternal?!

  62. avatar
    Fares Alahmar

    It’s none of your business to accept or reject, keep your European noses in your European business and stop messing with other countries internal affairs, and yes that includes Ukraine as well..


  63. avatar
    Su La

    And why we should decide if he should leave or stay? It is about his nation.. Who gave them weapons to have this blood bath. Enough interfering in Middle East, no one can enforce democracy and every country has its own characteristics.

  64. avatar
    Vincent Kleijn

    NO! Both ISIS as well Assad need to be removed from that region (in other words, we, the international community, should arrest both leaders of ISIS and Assad and his fellow war-criminals and bring them to court) so that a more peaceful situation can be restored in the Middle East.

  65. avatar
    Joseph Zrnchik

    The truth of the matter is that the same people who overthrew Gaddafi and destroyed Libya are the same people who are trying to overthrow Assad aned destroy Syria. Both wars were interventions by Saudi Arabia and its takfiri militants. Gaddafi, like Saddam, wanted to rid the world of the petroldollar scam. Both ended up killed. Neither attacked anyone before the American idiots bought into all the propaganda and lies and were manipulated that the corporate media complex to support war against two rulers who were fully cooperating the the Global War on Terror. Then, for Israeli and Saudi interests the US decided to turn against Assad. Now the US is supplying weapons to the very people who attacked us on 9/11. The US opens cases against Iran that are unwarranted, but in the meantime cover for the crimes of Saudi Arabia and its attack that killed thousands of Americans on 9/11. Why is it that the cabal that has been assisting al Qaeda and al Nusra are not hung for treason or at least charged with material support for a terrorist organization. Suddenly Russia is the big enemy when the fact is that the US has made Russia the greater enemy because Russia places contraints on the criminal elite running US foreign policy. The elite don’t care how many Americans al Qaeda killed. They want to support al Qaeda so as to have unfettered hegemony so as to weaken and destroy Russia. It seems Russia is destroying the neocon plans for world domination.

  66. avatar

    Iraq…Lybia…Syria…. all ideological and religious open countries who did not accept to bow to the demands of the imperialists USA Evil Government and the United Nations Criminal Organization.

    western media outlets are all propaganda in line with US/UN dirty agenda.

  67. avatar

    The EU and US policy makers should remember what happened to Iraq and Libya after they took out the two dictators. These two countries have became a heaving ground for ISIS. If we get rid of the Assad regime, then there is big chance that Syria will crumble because it is quite obvious that the West has no plan in place to put in action if Assad goes. In addition, we have to remember that it is up to the Syrian people to decide on what and who they want. As from now Assad is the best chance to defeat the ISIS along with the Kurds.

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