Nov 10, 2021  |  Webinar

The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Conflict in Syria: Protracted Stalemate, Regional Security and Catastrophic Impact

In this IISS Conflict Briefing, Dr Benjamin Petrini, Emile Hokayem, Jomana Qaddour, and Dr Karam Shaar address the domestic and international dynamics of the conflict in Syria, including the current state of the conflict, its political economy foundations, and the lasting humanitarian impact.

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About the event

In 2021, the armed conflict in Syria passed its ten-year anniversary. What started as a domestic uprising soon turned into an intractable civil war where no less than five foreign countries and multiple militias are militarily involved today. The last bouts of significant fighting were in the northwest province of Idlib in March 2020 and in southern Syria in the summer of 2021. Currently, the conflict has reached a violent protracted stalemate where several different armed confrontations are present at the same time, overlapping with regional security concerns about Turkish, Iranian, Israeli, Kurdish and jihadi activity. While the United Nations-led process is struggling to make progress, Western states have largely downgraded their engagement and several Arab countries are exploring ways to re-engage with the Assad regime. 

The magnitude of the destruction and human suffering in Syria include nearly 600,000 fatalities between documented deaths and missing people. The civil war in Syria caused the world’s largest forced displacement crisis since World War Two, with more than one in two Syrians forcibly displaced at home or abroad. The conflict toll also includes the destruction of the country’s social fabric, massive economic and infrastructure devastation, and the chronic fragmentation of authority on the ground with powerful non-state armed groups exercising governance and security functions. All these factors have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the Lebanese economic crisis since 2019.