Topic Analyses

The Syrian Civil War: A Perpetual Conflict

The Syrian Civil War continues to ravage the Middle East. Although many look for ways to fix underlying issues, it looks to be increasingly difficult as the years go by. In this article, Pranav Kalakuntla adds some preliminary background to the complex conflict, with some added reading suggestions too!

The Syrian Civil War, beginning in 2011, has ravaged the country for over a decade at this point. With widespread international interest in the conflict, diplomats have discussed possible solutions to this issue. With recent developments in the war, it’s necessary to revisit its history in order to fully understand why it’s so difficult to create longstanding peace.

The most obvious reason why this conflict remains relevant is due to its nature as a proxy war. International actors, such as Russia and Iran, have stood in staunch support of the Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad. In early 2020, when al-Assad’s government pushed for the recapture of all Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) land, it seemed that the conflict would finally come to a close. However, the status quo proves otherwise. The major location to watch in the coming years seems to be Idlib; the last major stronghold that the rebels hold.

Despite multiple attempts at peace negotiations and ceasefires, the fighting has continued, leading to a large number of casualties and the displacement of millions of Syrian citizens. The United Nations estimates that over 400,000 people have died due to the conflict, and over half of the country’s pre-war population has been displaced. Human rights violations have only fueled the civil war; the United States under the Biden administration has renewed its commitment towards the Syrian rebels in light of chemical warfare and in order to prevent a resurgence of terrorist organizations. Since these two factors show no signs of stopping, it remains nearly impossible to find a resolution.

The situation in Syria remains volatile and the outcome of the conflict is still uncertain. The conflict has also had significant regional and international implications, contributing to the rise of extremist groups and exacerbating tensions between global powers. For now, added context and historical background will only serve to provide an understanding to an incredibly complicated situation. 

For added reading, check these out!

“The Al-Assad Regime’s Captagon Trade,” from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

“Rescuing Aid in Syria,” from the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“Welcome back, Bashar Assad: Has the Syrian dictator won?” from Deutsche Welle: 

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