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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad won a fourth term, despite Western powers and his opponents questioning the integrity of the elections, so what message does his victory send after a decade of devastating conflict? What are his main priorities in the next phase? What do you mean re-election of the lion? Assad’s re-election was not a surprise to his supporters and opponents. “Assad sends a signal to both the Syrian opposition and his foreign opponents that their dreams of toppling him are dead,” said Nicholas Heras, a researcher at the Newelles Institute. Heras considers that the elections, delegated by Assad with 95.1 percent of the vote, constituted the final nail in the coffin of the international diplomatic effort to achieve reform in Syria, noting that Russia and Iran sent a major message to Washington and its partners that there is no future for Syria without Assad. According to Heras, the election campaign sheds light on the role of Assad as a man who won the war and has tremendous ideas for rebuilding Syria, in addition to being the only one capable of restoring order after the chaos of the conflict that drained the country’s capabilities and economy, and claimed the lives of more than 388,000 people. While al-Assad realizes that obtaining funds from the international community for reconstruction cannot take place outside a political settlement under the umbrella of the United Nations, his allies and his allies are working to attract potential donors, amid an unprecedented economic collapse.
Despite Assad’s opponents and Western powers questioning the “integrity” of the elections, and the United Nations asserting that the elections are not part of the political process that includes free and fair elections under a new constitution under its supervision, the margin of maneuver is limited. Al-Assad has always reiterated his intention to regain areas beyond his control through negotiation or force, but Turkish-Russian truce agreements in and around Idlib and the presence of US forces in the Kurdish areas hindered his progress in the military option.
As he won a new term, his opponents narrowed their options.
Political researcher Karim Bitar said, “They have rightly described the elections as sham and farce, but besides this description, their influence is very limited, except for perhaps continuing to raise their cause on the international stage, and to involve the rest of the great powers involved in the conflict.” Although the opposition is still far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, Assad has to, according to Bitar, at some point, he must show more flexibility, adding: “It may take some time, but sooner or later the game will change, you can win. “The war by using force, as Assad did in Syria, but a country cannot be ruled by the use of force.”
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