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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 Trump administration and the Russia probes

    17 August 2017. 

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller heads the most aggressive of five investigations of possible collusion between US President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election. Trump has continued to pursue a conspicuously friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump will probably continue to attack the special counsel's legitimacy and avoid unequivocally acknowledging Russian interference for as long as possible.

  • Expert Commentary

    Qatar and the interconnection of regional crises

    29 July 2017.  The Qatar crisis is not simply a regional tiff, it is a fundamental disagreement about the direction the wider region should take. The West needs to see that actions in one country immediately affect others, says Sir John Jenkins.

  • Strategic Comments

    Trump’s erratic Middle East policy

    12 July 2017. 

    The Trump administration's Middle East policy has become impulsive and inconsistent, as with its intervention in Qatar's dispute with Saudi Arabia, other Gulf Cooperation Council members and Egypt. The United States is also leaning towards intensified confrontation with Iran – especially over Syria. In any case, the administration's policy is unlikely to lend needed stability to the region.

  • IISS Voices

    Turkey’s border wall no substitute for effective refugee policy

    20 June 2017.  A vast new wall built by Turkey on its border with Syria offers the country some protection from external security threats. But the wall does not address domestic challenges, specifically those posed by the many refugees already inside Turkey. Caitlin Vito argues the investment on the border should be mirrored by an equally robust effort to develop effective, long-term refugee policies.

  • IISS Voices

    Rouhani's Iran: between hardliners and Trump

    02 June 2017.  Hassan Rouhani was the clear winner of the Iranian presidential election - but he faces challenges at home and abroad.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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...

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.