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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.

  • 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.

  • IISS Voices

    From the archive: Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, offers his views on military intervention

    24 July 2016.  In a candid address to the IISS Manama Dialogue in 2013, Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, identified four key elements that must be addressed if policymakers are to convince a sceptical public of the need for military engagement. The speech offers a fascinating insight into his personal views on military intervention, and how he would seek to win over his public if elected to office.

  • Expert Commentary

    New York Times: Why the US military can't fix Syria

    13 July 2016.  By Jonathan Stevenson, Senior Fellow for US Defence and Editor of Strategic Comments, and Steven Simon The State Department “dissent channel” memo on the United States’ policy in Syria, leaked last month, is just the latest expression of a widespread belief in and out of government that American intervention in Syria is necessary and would be successful. After five years of brutal, grinding war, this view is understandable. The idea of the United...

  • Expert Commentary

    iPolitics: Refugees in the Olympics? It should have happened sooner

    16 June 2016.  By Caitlin Vito, Research Events Administrator When the newest Olympic team enters the stadium in Rio this August, they'll be representing no nation. Instead, the ten athletes – two Syrian swimmers, two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and six runners, one from Ethiopia and five from South Sudan – will be competing on behalf of 20 million refugees around the world. The unprecedented decision by the International Olympic Committee...

  • Strategic Comments

    Jordan’s pragmatism and current challenges

    15 June 2016. 

    Historically, Jordan has handled the challenges of being located in a contested region with effective pragmatism. It now faces refugee pressure and the threat of jihadist infiltration from Syria, as well as a weak economy. Amman will have to strike a delicate balance between security cooperation with the United States against the Islamic State and cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states against the Assad regime to ensure it gleans maximum strategic rent.

  • ACD Insight

    Al-Qaeda’s prospective challenge to the Islamic State in Syria

    27 May 2016.  Al-Qaeda is reportedly seeking to strengthen its affiliate in Syria, raising questions about the possible outcomes of increased competition with the Islamic State.

  • IISS Voices

    Jonathan Stevenson: Al-Qaeda’s prospective challenge to the Islamic State in Syria

    27 May 2016.  Al-Qaeda is reportedly seeking to strengthen its affiliate in Syria, raising questions about the possible outcomes of increased competition with the Islamic State.

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.