The future of foreign forces in Syria
Between 2011 and 2021, Syria had more than 514 military points for 4 foreign powers: the United States, Russia, Iran and Turkey. Never before in Syria's modern history has this size of foreign military presence been recorded. This reflects the extent of external influence, that deprived the local actors from playing their own roles in the country.
After all, foreign forces withdrawal from Syria looks difficult before the parties to the conflict reach a sustainable political settlement. As such, the foreign military presence may be prolonged if the conflict is put to freez. In such a case the countries involved will not hesitate to find excuses that would grant them a long-term presence in the country, even if in non-military shapes that might turn into soft power approches.
The Iraqi and Afghani patterns might be examples for foreign powers to glue themselves into the place in the absence of a sustainable political settlement, or in the event of a high level of security threat from ISIS or other jihadist organizations.
Although a military confrontation between foreign powers in Syria is considered unlikely, but as soon as it occurs and the disengagement agreements are bypassed, this may lead to an increase in the presence of some countries' forces at the expense of others. This is expected to overshadow the fate of other foreign and even local forces.
In general, the presence of foreign forces in Syria must affect the shape of the political settlement and the kind of governance in the country, as it will be definitely affected and dependant on the aforementioned factors.
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