Syria conflict enters fifth year

The conflict in Syria is now in its fifth year. The IISS provides expert, regularly updated analysis on the crisis via blogs, commentary and journals, and in-depth examinations can be found in our Adelphi series and publications including The Military Balance and Strategic Survey. 

Monitoring the conflict in Syria

Armed Conflict Database

A regularly updated IISS online resource providing day-by-day timelines and detailed monthly reports on the conflict in Syria.

  • Expert Commentary

    Russia’s use of military force as a foreign policy tool: is there a logic?

    20 October 2016.  Russia has used its military beyond its borders with unprecedented frequency in the period since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014. In this PONARS Policy Memo Samuel Charap explains this behaviour, arguing that we should see Moscow's use of force as one element of a broader coercive bargaining process.

  • Military Balance Blog

    The Kuznetsov questions for NATO

    19 October 2016.  The Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has been deployed and is thought to be headed to the eastern Mediterranean. Nick Childs argues that despite the carrier's somewhat limited capabilities, NATO has some long-term questions to answer about how to respond to Moscow's willingness to use its maritime assets more assertively.

  • Strategic Comments

    The United States’ Syria quandary

    12 October 2016. 

    Following the collapse of the latest ceasefire, the Obama administration faces increasing pressure from interventionists for more robust military action against the Assad regime. But the United States' military options are problematic. The administration's Syria policy will probably not change substantially before he leaves office in January, though Hillary Clinton – his likely successor – has indicated that she would lean farther forward, in particular by imposing no-fly zones.

  • Expert Commentary

    New York Times: Don’t Intervene in Syria

    06 October 2016.  The cease-fire in Syria that the United States and Russia tortuously negotiated has, like the one before it, fallen apart. Jonathan Stevenson – Senior Fellow for US Defence and Editor of Strategic Comments at the IISS – and Steven Simon argue that the next step, unsatisfying as it may be, is to try and negotiate a new deal.

  • IISS Voices

    Elisabeth Marteu: Israel walks a tightrope on the Golan Heights

    30 September 2016.  Israel’s confused policies on the Golan Heights seem increasingly risky as the Syrian conflict shows no sign of abating

  • ACD Insight

    Israel walks a tightrope on the Golan Heights

    30 September 2016.  Israel’s confused policies on the Golan Heights seem increasingly risky as the Syrian conflict shows no sign of abating

  • IISS Voices

    Jonathan Stevenson: Explaining US policy stasis in Syria

    12 September 2016.  The fragile hope is that the deal tentatively struck last week by John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov for the US and Russia to coordinate counter-jihadist operations and restrain opposition and regime military activity, respectively, will produce a durable ceasefire in Syria and re-energise political talks. As Jonathan Stevenson explains, prospects for success are dubious.

  • Events

    Envisioning a political transition in Syria: a dialogue with the High Negotiations Committee

    07 September 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Dr Riyad Hijab, General Coordinator, High Negotiations Committee
    Hind Kabawat, Member, High Negotiations Committee and Women's Consultative Committee
    Arundel House, London
    Wednesday 7 September 2016, 9.30–11.00AM BST

  • Expert Commentary

    War on the Rocks: "Assad or we burn the country"

    24 August 2016.  By Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security Prior to the uprising that ignited in Syria in 2011, whenever I discussed politics with my urbanite Syrian interlocutors, they would often tell me: "You, the Lebanese, you are violent, corrupt, sectarian, with no sense of a nation or a state." (I also noted that Iraqis would endure similar lecturing). Frankly, they were largely right, but their real point lay somewhere else. The...

  • IISS Voices

    Jonathan Stevenson: ISIS's bad week

    18 August 2016.  In light of ISIS's recent setbacks, the group’s strategic decline in the broader Middle East is more a trend than an aberration, argues Jonathan Stevenson.

Middle Eastern Security, the US Pivot and the Rise of ISIS

Published to mark the tenth anniversary of the IISS Manama Dialogue, this new Adelphi book that analyses the key challenges now faced by the Middle East.

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Middle East and the Gulf

IISS has long been involved in the Middle East, attracting leading global policy-makers to its summits on regional security. IISS-Middle East works closely with other offices on research into Iran's nuclear programme, unrest following the Arab Spring and other topics.