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Syria

Shedding light on Syria's enduring conflict

The IISS provides expert, regularly updated analysis on Syria's enduring 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

    Will Trump be Israel's redeemer?

    23 May 2017.  Having steered his new administration, with record speed, into scandal and dysfunction, Donald Trump is now on his first foreign trip as president. He sets down today in Israel, his second stop after a weekend in Saudi Arabia.

  • Strategic Comments

    The Kurds’ precarious balancing act in Syria

    19 May 2017. 

    The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) utility to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has bolstered its military capability and territorial position in Syria – despite Turkey's opposition. But if the eventual defeat of ISIS results in a scaling back of US involvement in Syria, the PYD will be weakened and will probably seek a more durable alliance with President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its ally, Russia.

  • Survival

    Was the Rise of ISIS Inevitable?

    16 May 2017.  The most fateful American choice in the rise of ISIS was also the oldest one: the 2003 decision to invade Iraq, followed by the mismanagement of the occupation.

  • Survival

    Noteworthy

    16 May 2017.  In the June–July 2017 issue, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver explore whether different US policy choices between 2003 and 2014 could have stopped the rise of ISIS; James Dobbins and Seth G. Jones ask what strategic choices can ensure that ISIS’s imminent loss of its remaining territorial strongholds will mean lasting defeat; Fabrice Pothier highlights the necessity of an area-access strategy for NATO; Tim Huxley and Benjamin Schreer analyse Donald...

  • Survival

    The End of a Caliphate

    16 May 2017.  It is not clear that the United States will commit to the long-term efforts needed to prevail against the Islamic State’s affiliates, and to ensure the organisation does not re-emerge in Iraq and Syria.

  • Strategic Comments

    The battle for Mosul

    15 May 2017. 

    Iraqi government and allied forces are poised to decisively retake Mosul from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, within the next few months. But the presence of ISIS in Syria will still pose the risk of the group's resurgence in Iraq until the Iraq–Syria border is secure and ISIS has been denied control of Raqqa, its Syrian base and self-declared capital.

  • Armed Conflict Survey

    Chapter 3: Middle East

    09 May 2017. 

    Egypt
    Iraq
    Israel–Palestine
    Lebanon–Hizbullah–Syria
    Libya
    Mali (The Sahel)
    Syria
    Turkey (PKK)
    Yemen

  • Expert Commentary

    Before and after urban warfare: Conflict prevention and transitions in cities

    18 April 2017.  Civilian and military authorities hoping to tackle violence in cities must adapt to the unique nature of the urban space, argues IISS analyst Antonio Sampaio.

  • ACD Insight

    Turkey approves constitutional amendment

    18 April 2017.  The vote to approve amendments to the Turkish constitution means that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's executive authority will be formalised and consolidated. What happens next? Expect increased human security concerns within Turkey's borders, a recalibration of Turkey's relationship with the EU, and a strengthened narrative to knuckle down on Kurdish insurgency.

  • IISS Voices

    Turkey approves constitutional amendment

    17 April 2017.  The vote to approve amendments to the Turkish constitution means that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s executive authority will be formalised and consolidated. What happens next? Expect increased human security concerns within Turkey’s borders, a recalibration of Turkey’s relationship with the European Union, and a strengthened narrative to knuckle down on Kurdish insurgency.

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.