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Syria does not want to get involved in the Lebanese presidential issue and genuinely wishes to distance itself from Lebanon’s problems amidst the multiple crises that it is enduring. After having improved its relations with Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Syria doesn’t want to see these relations go sour because of Lebanon. Everyone who has visited Syria lately, including former President Michel Aoun, was told that Damascus will not interfere in Lebanese affairs, specifically the presidential election, and will leave the matter up to the Lebanese. That being said, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would much rather cooperate with the leader of the Marada Party, Sleiman Frangieh.

In addition, Damascus refuses to interfere in the issue of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Instead, it prefers to let the Lebanese deal with this problem, knowing that there is no solution to this specific crisis even if Lebanese delegations keep going back and forth to Damascus. For the Syrian regime, this issue is not merely humanitarian; it is mostly political and demographic. Therefore, it is not possible to turn back the clock and revert to the pre-war situation.

Information from Syria indicates that the regime’s main goal at present is to maintain stability and peace and avoid reigniting the battle zones ahead of an imminent political solution. The latter would open the doors to reconstruction and the inflow of Arab and Gulf funding. President Assad also wishes to put an end to Israeli airstrikes on his country, something that can only be done through an agreement with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. However, this may take some time, as it requires Iran to commit to freezing its activities across the region’s military fronts.

Various political observers indicate that despite all attempts by the Syrian regime to make a lasting impression, caution should prevail. There is a serious concern that the regime might withhold any positive overtures toward Arab states and revert to procrastination and delay. This can happen if Syria is swayed by Iranian temptations to maintain the vital channels through which Tehran supplies Hezbollah’s needs. The same sources point out that this matter may hold significant importance for Assad, as it allows him to keep on being financed by the Iranians at a time when Arab investments are still pending, awaiting the lifting of sanctions.

In the meantime, Hezbollah remains a military necessity for Assad, although the Russians are trying to offset the Shiite party’s influence by reinforcing some Syrian army units and increasing their military capabilities through extensive training.