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

    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.

  • Armed Conflict Survey

    Chapter 3: Middle East

    05 May 2016. 

    Egypt (Sinai)
    Mali (The Sahel)
    Turkey (PKK)

  • IISS Voices

    Jonathan Stevenson: Ratcheting up US military involvement in Syria and Iraq

    21 April 2016.  The US Defense Department has announced increases in the number of special-operations forces to be deployed in Syria, and enhancements to their missions in Iraq. Jonathan Stevenson analyses the strategic and political implications of this move.

  • Events

    *CANCELLED* The New Paradigm in Turkey-EU Relations

    20 April 2016. 

    Discussion Meeting
    H.E. Ambassador Volkan Bozkır, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, Turkey

  • Expert Commentary

    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: US–Russian relations - The middle cannot hold

    14 April 2016.  By Dr Samuel Charap, Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia, and Jeremy Shapiro, Research Director at the European Council on Foreign Relations US–Russian relations have been in a downward spiral since Vladimir Putin took the fateful decision to invade Crimea in February 2014. More than two years later, the situation is as grave as it has been since the heated days of the Cold War, in the early 1980s. Russia and...

  • Strategic Comments

    The tenuous diplomacy of the Syrian conflict

    12 April 2016. 

    International diplomacy with respect to the Syrian conflict has been episodic and generally ineffective. Greater engagement by the Syrian regime and the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 in support of negotiations on Syria's political transition have improved prospects for a political solution. But the parties remain far apart on the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a political transition, and therefore still face a steep uphill climb.

  • ACD Insight

    Fears of Federalism in Syria

    07 April 2016.  There are good reasons to create strong local government in Syria, but any federal solution must be approached with caution to ensure that ethnic and sectarian differences are smoothed, rather than cemented

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.