When the border crossings between Turkey and Syria first began to fall into the hands of groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad in 2012, opposition leaders began to feel that Syria was heading for a transition. As a result, the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies hosted a conference entitled “Managing the Transition in Syria.” The presentation at the Carnegie Moscow Center focused on the Syria Transition Roadmap that was formulated by the various opposition leaders at the conference and what it entails for the future of the country. Radwan Ziadeh, executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies and president of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice, Monzer Makhous, the National Coalition representative in Paris, and Osama Kadi, deputy minister for economic affairs of the Syrian Interim Government, took part in a discussion on this roadmap plan and the situation in Syria. Carnegie’s Alexey Malashenko moderated.

Discussion Highlights

  • Transition: Ziadeh described the six aspects of the Syria Transition Roadmap: Political reform that would see a transition to a parliamentary system, constitutional reform using the more progressive Constitution of 1950 as a starting point, political party and electoral law reform that would be based on pluralism and democratic values, security sector reform, reform of the justice system while holding those responsible for crimes against humanity accountable, and economic reform.
  • Humanitarian: Kadi spoke on the need for humanitarian assistance and economic reform in Syria. He noted that the current humanitarian crisis in Syria is one a kind over the course of the last century, and that Syrians require a market economy with a government providing basic services.
  • Politics: Makhous discussed the political element of the transition. He said that the Syrian people need a democratic, civilian government. Less interference from extremists and radicals, the greatest threats to Syria’s future, is essential.