Report – Syria: A Quest for Peace

On the 24th of June, the Activity Committee of the JASON Institute for Peace and Security Studies organised a webinar about Syria’s Peace Process. The Syrian peace process is the ensemble of initiatives and plans to resolve the Syrian Civil War. The fifth United Nations-led talks in Geneva last January failed to achieve meaningful developments between the opposition and the Syrian regime. This leaves people wondering how this impasse can be overcome.

We were delighted to welcome Rafif Jouejati and Armenak Tokmaiyan. Rafif Jouejati is the founder and Director of FREE-Syria, and a member of the board of directors of The Day After and Baytna. She served as the English spokeswoman for the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) in Syria, a network of secular nonviolent activists, as well as for the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces during the Geneva II peace process. She has worked with key actors in the Syrian opposition and civil society to develop a transition plan for Syria. She is currently a non-resident scholar and member of the Syria Strategy Group at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. Armenak Tokmajyan is a non-resident scholar at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. His research focuses on borders and conflict, Syrian refugees, and local intermediaries in Syria. Before that, Mr Tokmajyan was a research fellow at International Crisis Group, focusing mainly on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and patterns of displacement inside Syria. He holds a master’s degree in peace, mediation and conflict research from the University of Tampere, Finland. Over the years Tokmaiyan published several reports and articles concerning Syria. 

Together with these two experts, we discussed the main factors that have delayed the peace negotiations. We further focused on the top priorities at this point in the peace process and we discussed how minority groups are or are not included in the peace process. The two speakers provided us with interesting insights into the contemporary situation in Syria and possible scenarios for the future. 

We started the evening by elaborating on the speakers’ personal relationship with the Syrian civil war and how this has influenced their career path. After this, we discussed the background of the peace process, such as the starting point and the main domestic and international actors in the process. 

Mrs Jouejati and Mr Tokmajyan also touched upon the main priorities of these different actors. Mrs Jouejati explained that the goals and priorities of different actors are incompatible. Mr Tokmajyan added to this that even the opposition has no unified agenda and that their goals differ on a local level. The experts further discussed the topic of inclusive peace. They conclude the webinar, the speakers briefly talked about the future of Syria. 

We would like to thank Mrs Jouejati and Mr Tokmajyan for their interesting insights and Arnis of the Jason Activities Committee for hosting the webinar! 

Have you missed this interesting webinar? You can watch the webinar below or via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk_jZROVQi0.

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