Press TV has conducted an interview with Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist, about the role of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in potentially hindering a UN-backed cessation of hostilities in Syria.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: To what extent are Turkey and Saudi Arabia interfering in the ceasefire process, and why aren’t they giving the ceasefire a chance?
Porter: I think the answer to that question is quite simple, that both Saudi Arabia and Turkey clearly are determined to have the war continue, and the ceasefire is in a way a problem for them. It’s raising hopes that there could be an alternative, but I’m quite sure that the Syrian government and the Russian government are not relying on Turkey and Saudi Arabia to cooperate with this.
They are planning obviously for the opposite to happen, that is to say that Saudi Arabia and Turkey will continue to do their best to supply the rebels including al-Nusra Front of course primarily that they have been supporting for the last five years or last four years at least.
So, I think that that’s really not what the strategy of this ceasefire is based on at all.
Press TV: But in what way are these two countries benefiting from the war in Syria?
Porter: Well, I think both Saudi Arabia and Turkey would like to see the overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad regime. Saudi Arabia, I think, is quite determined to do that even more than Turkey. And I think they’ve seen an opportunity here that they were hoping to exploit. I don’t think that there’s any other need for further explanation than that.
Press TV: What would be the consequences if this ceasefire doesn’t hold?
Porter: I think that the ceasefire is probably not going to continue indefinitely and that there will be a continuation of the effort by the Russian air force and in support of Syrian and Iranian troops and some Kurdish YPG forces on the ground to try to cut the lines of communications, the lines of supply from the Turkish border to the Aleppo area.
And that has been relatively successful, if not 100-percent successful, it certainly has been quite effective in basically making it very difficult for supplies to get through from Turkey.
So, I think that is going to be the primary direction that events will take when and if the ceasefire does finally end and the fighting begins again in earnest.