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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.

  • Strategic Comments

    The future of US Syria policy

    17 February 2017. 

    Despite campaign rhetoric suggesting bold changes to US Syria policy, President Trump has few realistic military or political options for major departures from Obama's policy. US policy will probably change only at the margins.

  • The Military Balance

    Chapter 7: Middle East and North Africa

    14 February 2017.  Middle East and North Africa: Russia changes the battlefield; The campaign against ISIS; The Iraqi Army; The war in Yemen; Yemen and GCC military cooperation; Regional capabilities increase; Defence Economics; Macroeconomics; Defence spending and procurement; Defence industry; Emirates Defence Industries Company

    Saudi Arabia: Defence policy; The armed forces; Defence and security cooperation and coalitions; Operations in Yemen; Defence economics and industry

  • Strategic Comments

    Social divisions and rising terrorist violence in Turkey

    12 January 2017. 

    In the past 18 months, Turkey has not appreciably reduced Kurdish militant groups' terrorist capabilities or addressed the root causes of their grievances. The country has grown less tolerant of Islamic State activity, and friction between Turkey and its NATO allies has impeded intelligence-sharing about terrorist threats. Accordingly, the level of terrorist violence in Turkey appears set to rise in the months ahead, potentially leading to sustained domestic instability and severe damage to the country’s social fabric.

  • Expert Commentary

    How Syria Defeated the Sunni Powers

    03 January 2017.  Breakthroughs for Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin have presented supporters of the Syrian uprising with difficult choices. Emile Hokayem, senior fellow for Middle East security, asks how three nations will respond.

  • Manama Voices

    No cats, but same old traps

    11 December 2016.  Recent aircraft losses by the Russian navy have provided a salutary reminder of the demanding nature of fixed-wing aircraft operations at sea. Here, Douglas Barrie explains what operational insights can be gleaned from the incidents.

  • Expert Commentary

    The Islamic State and Israel's Arab Citizens

    06 December 2016.  In this article for War on the Rocks, Elisabeth Marteu discusses the reasons why the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has failed to gain a foothold amongst Israeli Arabs.

  • Manama Voices

    Turbulence of 2016 lends greater urgency to IISS Manama Dialogue

    01 December 2016.  This year’s IISS Manama Dialogue takes place amid a set of political, economic, social and security challenges in and around the Middle East and North Africa of a global importance and urgency that we have not seen for decades. As Sir John Jenkins explains, the Dialogue provides a vital forum for some of the most powerful policymakers from the region and beyond to agree on ways to address such pressing...

  • Strategic Comments

    The Islamic State and Southeast Asia

    23 November 2016. 

    Up to a thousand Southeast Asians have travelled to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. While some may return to Southeast Asia and engage in terrorist operations, the greater threat is that the Islamic State's rise in international prominence will foment homegrown extremism and terrorist activity.

  • Events

    The Islamic State: Between Aspirations and Reality

    17 November 2016. 

    IISS Manama Dialogue Discourse Series
    Nelly Lahoud, Senior Fellow for Political Islamism, IISS–Middle East
    IISS–Americas, Washington DC
    Thursday 17 November 2016, 10–11AM EST

  • Events

    Russia, the Middle East and the Geopolitical Implications of Trump

    17 November 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    Major General (Retd) Amos Yadlin, Executive Director, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University; Member of the Council, IISS 
    Dr Igor Yurgens, Chairman of the Management Board, Institute of Contemporary Development, Russia; Member of the IISS Council
    Bloomsbury House, London
    Thursday 17 November 2016, 2.30–3.30PM GMT

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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IISS Research Programme

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.