Syria + 2 more

Syria: Conflict Diagnostic, February 29, 2016

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Catherine Rioux, Amy Hutchinson, Caitlyn Hyndman

INAF 5203
Professor David Carment

Executive Summary

This diagnostic report examines the recent trends in structural factors from 2011 to 2014 in comparison to the 2006 Syria Baseline Report produced by the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy (CIFP). It also examines the role of internal and external stakeholders, who have contributed to the ongoing conflict. The crucial obstacles preventing conflict resolution and stabilization in Syria are the involvement of complex regional and international actors, the sectarian character of the conflict and the resulting displacement of an estimated 10 million Syrians of their current population of 22.8 million. Despite recent attempts to negotiate a peace settlement, the continued structural deterioration and long-term impacts of the conflict have limited the potential for a resolution in the near future.


Syria officially gained independence from France in 1946 and underwent a number of military coups resulting in an unstable political environment until the 1960s. In 1967 Syria lost ownership over the Golan Heights to Israel as a result of their defeat in the ArabIsraeli war. Shortly thereafter in 1970, Hafiz al-Assad who was a member of the minority Alawi group, rose to the presidency through a coup. Following his death in 2000, Bashar al-Assad, current President of Syria, rose to power. During the Arab Spring protests in 2011, Assad used military force in order to repress the protesters and those in opposition to the regime. This violence led the international community to impose sanctions and call for Assad’s immediate resignation. Negotiations for peace have been unsuccessful thus far, however, the opposition parties and the Assad regime are involved in renewed talks at the Geneva 2016 Peace Conference, which began on February 1st 2016.