The Syria Project

The Syria Project

Syria

The Syrian Civil War began in March 2011. Years later, with hundreds of thousands dead, no end appears in sight. Multiple diplomatic conferences and ceasefire agreements have failed to achieve a resolution or anything more than a temporary lull in the fighting.

In its first two years, the conflict was a relatively straightforward contest between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces under the banner of the Free Syrian Army. As the war continued, outside actors interested in either propping up or toppling the Syrian ruler entered the fray, transforming the country into a battlefield for larger international conflicts.

Hezbollah openly declared its military presence in 2013, intent on swinging the tide of battle in Assad’s favor. It was joined by a host of other Iranian proxy militias – Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and others – and then by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. A host of Sunni Islamist militias appeared in response, either splintering off from the FSA or coming from abroad.

The most important of these is Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra), an al-Qaeda affiliated group. The Islamic State, formerly confined to Iraq, entered Syria in 2014 and seized large swathes of territory, establishing its de facto capital in Raqqa and declaring war on both rebels and regime loyalists. Russia entered the fight in late 2015, assuring the momentum remained with the regime-led alliance.

Despite predictions of his downfall, the Syrian president has proved surprisingly resilient. The late 2016 conquest of Aleppo was a turning point that definitively swung the tide of battle in his favor. Regime gains, however, have come at huge cost: the Syrian Arab Army is shattered, and Assad’s Syria is a pariah in the Arab world. In the long run, Assad’s dependence on Iran and its proxy militias – which have declared their intent to permanently remain in the country – will serve to erode Syrian sovereignty, perhaps transforming Damascus into another puppet of Tehran.

Trump’s Syria strategy must target Assad’s chief protector: Iran

17th April 2017 – The Hill

Trump’s Syria strategy must target Assad’s chief protector: Iran

Emanuele Ottolenghi

The strikes ordered on April 6 by President Trump to respond to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack helped restore America’s credibility in the region after years of retreat. more...

Analysis & Commentary

20th April 2017 – Fox News

Syria’s chemical program: Rubio ‘gravely concerned’ about Iran & Russia complicity

Benjamin Weinthal

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told Fox News he’s “gravely concerned” about Iran’s role in helping Syria develop its chemical warfare program that ended up killing dozens of people weeks ago. more...

17th April 2017 – Fox News

Journal Editorial Report

Clifford D. May

FDD President and Founder Clifford D. May discusses the impact of US missile strikes in Syria, and the implications for US-Russia relations. more...

16th April 2017 – Quoted by Josh Rogin - The Washington Post

Trump isn’t sure what to do next on Syria. Congress has some ideas.

Mark Dubowitz

The Trump administration is working hard to come up with a comprehensive strategy for Syria after striking the forces of Bashar al-Assad earlier this month. To that end, congressional leaders are preparing a new push to get their old ideas for pressuring the Syrian president, Russia and Iran to the president’s desk. more...

14th April 2017 – Quoted by Andrew C. McCarthy - PJ Media

Republican Congress AWOL on Syria

Thomas Joscelyn

Where is the Republican-controlled Congress on Syria? By all accounts, it is busy cheerleading the president's firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a foreign sovereign -- an offensive attack that was unprovoked and unauthorized by Congress, rendering it unconstitutional. more...

From the Hill: