SyriaSource

  • Post-Conflict, How Will Iran Preserve its Presence in Syria?

    The Youth Sports Club, once considered one of the most prominent soccer clubs in Deir Ezzor city in eastern Syria, now marks the beginning of Iran’s cultural penetration project in Syria. It transformed the building that was previously dedicated to training the soccer team into a cultural center employing a number of Arabic-speaking Iranians.


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  • American Policy at the Crossroads

    Those who believe that Tehran and Moscow consider themselves home free, gleefully celebrating the political survival of their Syrian client without a care in the world, underestimate the knowledge and sophistication of Iranian and Russian officials. Their problems are just beginning, and they know it. But how should the United States act, given the survival of a hideous regime: one whose crimes against humanity persuade some Syrians (and foreign fighters willing to support them) that Al Qaeda and ISIS (ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) were, and perhaps still are, attractive alternatives?


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  • Consequences of the US Withdrawal from Syria: The French Perspective

    French authorities were undoubtedly upset, if not very surprised, by US President Donald Trump’s sudden announcement of a withdrawal from the northeast of Syria. On several occasions during his talks with President Trump, especially when he came to Washington for a state visit in April 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron was very insistent that the US and their allies should stay, ultimately he did not change the American president’s decision and campaign commitment to end America’s wars abroad.


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  • The Influence of Domestic Politics on Foreign Policy in Syria

    On January 13, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuannounced that Israeli forces attacked Iranian weapons warehouses in Damascus the day prior, confirming similar reports by Syrian state media. What is unusual about Netanyahu’s statement is not the content—indeed, Israeli officials previouslyacknowledged carrying out hundreds of strikes onthousands of Iranian targets

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  • Expert Analysis on US Soldiers Killed in Manbij

    This morning reports of four Americanskilled in Manbij, Syria surfaced with the Islamic State (ISIS) claiming theattack which came in the form of a suicide explosive vest next to a US patrol. The attack killed two US soldiers, a civilian from the Defense Intelligence Agency, and a US contractor. Several civilians were also caught

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  • Can Anything Be Salvaged?

    President Trump’s impulsive “out of Syria” tweet of December 19, 2018 may have sacrificed high value, low cost American leverage in eastern Syria for precisely nothing.  Russian, Iranian, and Assad regime alarm that the West would work with local Syrians in areas liberated from ISIS (ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) to create the long-awaited governance alternative to Bashar al-Assad, family, and friends have all-but-evaporated.  It was that possibility – the presentation to all Syrians of a good government, civilized alternative to mass murder, state terror, war crimes, bottomless corruption, and subservience to Iran – that was the essence of Western leverage: not the physical presence of 2,000 uniformed Americans.  But those soldiers and marines were a tripwire and a symbol of American determination to seal the victory over ISIS by paving the way for political transition in all of Syria.  The president may have given it away.  For nothing. 


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  • Winter Storm in Arsal, Lebanon Devastates Vulnerable Syrian Refugee Communities

    Up one of the steep hillsides that line Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, Soheir al-Kanoun hasn’t left the house in days.

    A Palestinian refugee originally from Syria’s Yarmouk camp, who now lives in a hillside town overlooking the valley below, al-Kanoun’s family have been living off bread and tahini since Storm Norma began—groceries bought hastily last week in preparation for rain, wind and snow.

    And while the elevation has protected al-Kanoun and her elderly mother from flooding, hillside snow and ice has hemmed them inside since the weekend.  

    “I can’t go out in this weather,” she said. “We live up in the hills. People rarely go outside.”


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  • Slowing Down the Train

    One thing to be learned from the uproar following the recent out-of-Syria presidential tweet is that “ready, aim, fire” makes just as much sense in government as it does on the firing range. By most accounts, US President Donald Trump is now where he should have been two weeks ago: in the “ready” phase, consulting with his national security team on the implementation of a strategy aimed at killing ISIS (ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) in Syria and keeping it deadby preventing the pseudo-caliphate’s chief recruiting officer—Bashar al-Assad—from taking over liberated eastern Syria. But the round fired before aiming may yet prove fatal. Syrian Kurds—the

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  • Our Greatest Hits for 2018

    As we look back at the tumultuous year for Syria in 2018, it's sadly ending with the withdrawal of US troops and an unclear US-Syria policy moving forward. The implications of this policy are likely far reaching. Time will tell what the damage will be and how the conflict will continue to evolve. Below we have listed our top viewed articles of the year. By far, the most viewed is the one penned by our outgoing director, Ambassador Frederic C. Hof as he moved on to other scholarly pursuits teaching at Bard College. Thankfully, he's continued writing and our viewers and center are grateful for it. 

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  • Pushing the Kremlin Line on Syria

    In an interview during the evening of December 20, 2018 with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Stephen Miller (adviser to US President Donald Trump) offered the following piece of commentary: “ISIS is the enemy of Russia, ISIS is the enemy of Assad, ISIS is the enemy of Turkey. Are we supposed to stay in Syria for generation after generation, spilling American blood to fight the enemies of all those countries?” One-for-three isn’t bad in baseball, but to claim ISIS (ISIL, Daesh, Islamic State) is the enemy of Russia and the Assad regime is to parrot the Kremlin’s false propaganda line. Were Miller better prepared he might have added Iran to the ISIS faux enemies list. Or perhaps the deletion was deliberate. But even as is, the Miller statement must not be the position of the United States. 


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