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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 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

    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

  • 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

  • Expert Commentary

    The end of the Islamic State will make the Middle East worse

    28 October 2016.  In this article for the Washington Post, Emile Hokayem looks at what will happen in the Middle East as the Islamic State loses power, arguing that the group's weakening will bring more potent problems to the surface.

  • Expert Commentary

    A non-territorial Islamic State

    26 October 2016.  In this essay for Horizons, the in-house journal of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), Nelly Lahoud examines the state-building track record of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as well as that of its parent group, the Islamic State of Iraq.

  • Expert Commentary

    Russia’s use of military force as a foreign policy tool: is there a logic?

    20 October 2016.  Russia has used its military beyond its borders with unprecedented frequency in the period since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014. In this PONARS Policy Memo Samuel Charap explains this behaviour, arguing that we should see Moscow's use of force as one element of a broader coercive bargaining process.

  • Military Balance Blog

    The Kuznetsov questions for NATO

    19 October 2016.  The Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, has been deployed and is thought to be headed to the eastern Mediterranean. Nick Childs argues that despite the carrier's somewhat limited capabilities, NATO has some long-term questions to answer about how to respond to Moscow's willingness to use its maritime assets more assertively.

  • Strategic Comments

    The United States’ Syria quandary

    12 October 2016. 

    Following the collapse of the latest ceasefire, the Obama administration faces increasing pressure from interventionists for more robust military action against the Assad regime. But the United States' military options are problematic. The administration's Syria policy will probably not change substantially before he leaves office in January, though Hillary Clinton – his likely successor – has indicated that she would lean farther forward, in particular by imposing no-fly zones.

  • Expert Commentary

    New York Times: Don’t Intervene in Syria

    06 October 2016.  The cease-fire in Syria that the United States and Russia tortuously negotiated has, like the one before it, fallen apart. Jonathan Stevenson – Senior Fellow for US Defence and Editor of Strategic Comments at the IISS – and Steven Simon argue that the next step, unsatisfying as it may be, is to try and negotiate a new deal.

  • IISS Voices

    Elisabeth Marteu: Israel walks a tightrope on the Golan Heights

    30 September 2016.  Israel’s confused policies on the Golan Heights seem increasingly risky as the Syrian conflict shows no sign of abating

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.