International actors in the Syrian conflict
This article is featured in the ORIENT II 2019
Syria’s long and bloody civil war is seemingly winding down, but how will it conclude? Since the war’s beginning, regional and international powers have intervened to shape the conflict, enabling and hindering Syrian players on the ground, and these same actors will play a major part in determining the endgame. This article explores the involvement of Russia, the US, Turkey, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Syria’s civil war and how their various priorities and policies have ultimately strengthened Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and weakened his various enemies, whether the rebels, Kurds or so-called Islamic State. Whether this can now be translated into a firm al-Assad victory, a negotiated settlement or a continuation of war will ultimately be more determined by the outside than by Damascus.
Christopher Phillips is Reader in International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London and an Associate Fellow at the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa programme. He has published in numerous academic journals and print media and is author of Everyday Arab Identity: The Daily Reproduction of the Arab World (London: Routledge, 2012) and The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East (London: Yale University Press, 2016 [paperback update 2018]).
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