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Syria Strategy Project

The Atlantic Council, Middle East Institute, and European Institute of Peace collaborate with subject matter experts and policymakers in the US, Europe, and the Middle East to develop a holistic strategy to sustainably forge a pathway to resolving Syria’s crisis.

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May 19, 2023

Experts react: Assad gets warm reception at Arab summit. Where does that leave the US and its allies?

By Qutaiba Idlbi, Gissou Nia, Michel Duclos, Emadeddin Badi

Atlantic Council experts react to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s attendance at the Arab League summit in Jeddah and explain its significance below. 

Human Rights Middle East


May 16, 2023

Syrian refugees fear normalization with Assad. Because it means they will have to return—and not by choice.

By Arwa Damon

Syrian refugees fear that “normalization” of ties will boost the narrative that “Syria is safe now,” giving further justification to rid Syrian refugee populations.

Human Rights Lebanon


Apr 6, 2023

Arab states are normalizing with the Assad regime. This is the Middle East’s 1936 moment.

By Malik al-Abdeh and Lars Hauch

Now diplomatic relations are set to be restored between Syria and two behemoths of the Arab League: Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are the holders of the all-important veto on Assad’s return to regional respectability.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Mar 17, 2023

The earthquake in Syria: A crisis of nature and politics

By Samir Aita and Zedoun Alzoubi

Politics is the art of the possible, and the tragic earthquake has put Syria on the priority list again.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Feb 15, 2023

The case for a Western initiative in Northeast Syria: A European perspective

By Michel Duclos

The time has come for the United States and its core allies on the Syrian issue—foremost among them France and the United Kingdom—to adopt a robust initiative toward northeast Syria.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Feb 9, 2023

In Syria, the earthquake ‘did what the Assad regime and Russians wanted to do to us all along’

By Arwa Damon

While aid increasingly flows into Turkey from around the world by air, land, and sea, areas on the other side of the border in Syria’s rebel-controlled areas are seeing none of that.

Civil Society Europe & Eurasia


Jan 23, 2023

It’s been over a decade since Ankara and Damascus talked. What changed? 

By Ömer Özkizilcik

The December 2022 meeting in Russia is the first of many that may ultimately result in a direct encounter between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad.

Europe & Eurasia Middle East


Jan 13, 2023

US sanctions on Syria aren’t working. It’s time for a new sanctions approach that minimizes humanitarian suffering and increases leverage.

By Karam Shaar and Said Dimashqi

Before making concessions, the United States can increase its leverage in Syria by dedicating resources to make use of the smart sanctions that US policymakers have already developed.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Dec 23, 2022

2022: A year in the Middle East

By Nour Alhajjeh and Madeline Hart 

2022 was a year full of unprecedented protests, groundbreaking state visits, historical elections, and new challenges for the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran Iraq


Dec 1, 2022

Rebel infighting foreshadows the next phase of the Syrian conflict

By Malik al-Abdeh and Lars Hauch

The resultant clashes would probably have been largely ignored as just another chapter in the endless saga of rebel factionalism. However, when Hayat Tahrir al-Sham directly intervened, the issue attracted considerable attention beyond the microcosm of Syria’s armed opposition landscape.

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy


Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.