Our work on Syria sheds light on the ongoing struggle of Syrians to fulfill their desire for democratic self-governance as the United States and the international community grapple with the aftermath of a devastating civil war, millions of refugees across the Middle East and Europe, and ongoing security and political challenges spilling over Syria’s borders.

Featured commentary & analysis

Featured in-depth research & reports


Past events

Wed, May 22, 2019

Ambassador Duclos discusses the influence of Russia and Iran in Syria

Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. Iranian leaders were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria to support Bashar al-Assad in September 2015, and the two countries cooperate within Syria to this day. However, various episodes highlight the limits of what looks like an alliance of convenience.


Mon, Dec 17, 2018

The Future of US Policy in Syria

As the conflict in Syria confronts the United States with crucial policy decisions, the Atlantic Council released two reports: “Rethinking Stabilization in Eastern Syria: Toward a Human Security Framework,” authored by Dr. Steven Heydemann for the Atlantic Council’s Rebuilding Syria Initiative, and “Breaking Ghouta,” produced by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.  The Atlantic Council […]



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Mon, Aug 5, 2019

The evolution of Syrian revolutionary art

Perhaps, it is unsurprising then, that political posters and street art became so ubiquitous in the Syrian Revolution. The regimes of the Middle East knew the political potential for art. For this reason, it has always been closely monitored.

SyriaSource by Natasha Hall


Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Why is the US clashing with the Dutch over Syria?

As the women’s national soccer teams battled it out for the World Cup title in early July, another clash was taking place in the political realm between the Americans and the Dutch over the latter’s military contribution in Syria.

SyriaSource by Grace Wermenbol


Thu, Aug 1, 2019

Syrians at the Turkish border: humiliation, torture, and death

Yet the journey is fraught with danger that doesn’t end at the border. If anything, the border itself is the most dangerous part of the journey with Turkish border guards known as “Jandarma,” who frequently capture, beat, and steal from Syrian refugees only to send them back into Syria.

SyriaSource by Tesbih Habbal


Wed, Jul 17, 2019

Getting out – again?

Will allies and partners be certain of American steadfastness? Can American officials genuinely claim to know the commander-in-chief’s intent? President Trump may not wish to make Iran’s day by gifting northeastern Syria to it, Russia, and the Assad regime.

SyriaSource by Frederic C. Hof


Thu, Jul 11, 2019

The conflict has torn apart Syrian tribes, but they remain an important player

Despite the lack of focus on the Syrian Arab tribes’ social and political roles, they continue to be an important player between the conflicting parties in Syria, especially the Euphrates region and in northern Syria.

SyriaSource by Khalifa al-Khuder


Tue, Jul 2, 2019

Innocent victims of a brutal war, Syria’s “lost generation” can still be saved

In an ugly war that has torn apart a country and destabilized an entire region, the ravaged childhoods and uncertain futures of innocent children are perhaps the most devastating consequences. But unlike other outcomes of the war, this one can be mitigated—if the international community can muster the political will to act.

SyriaSource by Jasmine M. El-Gamal


Mon, Jul 1, 2019

Liquidating American leverage in Northeastern Syria

A week before last Christmas, President Trump tweeted his desire to disengage from Syria quickly. Since then the administration—obviously with a presidential green light—has tried to modify that message. But the ultimate intent of the American commander-in-chief on Syria has not yet been articulated.

SyriaSource by Frederic C. Hof


Tue, Jun 18, 2019

Responding to Assad’s violence against Syrian civilians

Yet it is not the policy of the United States that violent regime change in Syria be pursued. Political transition in Syria from corruptly violent family rule to a system reflecting inclusive legitimacy and rule of law should proceed through peaceful negotiations in accordance with the applicable United Nations Security Council resolutions. But these negotiations are not possible while the constituency of one negotiating party is subject to terror, murder, and flight.

SyriaSource by Frederic C. Hof


Wed, Jun 12, 2019

Underestimating the global impact of the Syrian war

More measurable in objective terms is the effect on European politics and unity of a massive flow of migrants—sixty percent Syrian—surging across the continent in 2015.

SyriaSource by Frederic C. Hof


Tue, Jun 11, 2019

New rules of engagement needed as ISIS remains and adapts

The Islamic State was crippled this past year in several fierce battles with the international coalition, but is regrouping and the international community needs to recognize this and redevelop its strategy.

SyriaSource by Abdullah Almousa