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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. 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 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.

  • Strategic Comments

    TLAMs in Syria

    12 April 2017. 

    The United States' Tomahawk cruise-missile strikes on the Syrian regime's Shayrat Air Base in retaliation for the regime's sarin attack are unlikely to advance peace in Syria. The regime and its main supporters, Russia and Iran, remain defiant, and the Trump administration appears inclined to frame the strikes as a relatively narrow deterrent against chemical weapons attacks and keep counter-terrorism its main priority in Syria for now.

  • IISS Voices

    Syria airstrikes: no sign US will escalate involvement

    07 April 2017.  President Trump has launched a dramatic attack on Shayrat airbase, but the American game plan for Syria is unclear. Emile Hokayem argues further airstrikes are unlikely to alter the military landscape, and could complicate the war on Islamic State.

  • Strategic Comments

    Shia militias in Iraq

    31 March 2017. 

    Shia militias, some backed by Iran, are now playing an essential role in ejecting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, from Iraq. There remain stiff challenges associated with the militias' post-ISIS integration into the regular Iraqi security forces and potential availability for other more destabilising Iranian missions. Reining in the Iran-supported militias will be especially difficult.

  • Expert Commentary

    Russia and Iran's growing cooperation hints at a new Middle East

    27 March 2017.  The two countries favour different solutions to the Syria crisis. But this will not derail their relationship, argues IISS Research Fellow for Iran Clement Therme.

  • IISS Voices

    Security in the urban century - a new research stream at IISS

    23 March 2017.  As the world's urban population booms, cities in the Global South face unique challenges.

IISS Research Programme

Middle East and the Gulf

The IISS Middle East and the Gulf programme is based at the IISS–Middle East Office and provides analysis of regional geopolitics and security, including the Iran nuclear accord, the ongoing civil war in Syria, and enduring instability in Iraq.