The Syrian conflict since 2011 is a constellation of overlapping crises. Each of its global, regional and sub-national dimensions demands a tailored response set within an overarching framework. Instead, chronic violence and worsening suffering have killed more than 250,000 people, fueling radicalisation, refugee flight and a self-sustaining war economy. Outside stakeholders must learn from the way the Syrian conflict has repeatedly dashed unrealistic expectations on all sides. Crisis Group pursues a comprehensive approach for achieving a sustainable decline in violence and, ultimately, a political settlement. We also seek to correct dominant narratives that focus on jihadism and migrant flows, which are the symptoms, rather than the causes, of the problem.

CrisisWatch Syria

Unchanged Situation

Clashes between local strongmen in south killed dozens, Israeli strike on Iran’s consular facility in Damascus sparked unprecedented direct confrontation, and Iran-backed groups attacked U.S. forces. 

In south, deadly clashes between rival local strongmen killed dozens. In bloodiest upsurge in region in years, underscoring insecurity and lack of state authority, IED 6 April killed eight children in Sanamayn city, Deraa province; group led by local leader Mohsen al-Haimed next day blamed explosion on rival group led by Ahmed Jamal al-Labbad, and attacked homes of latter, killing twenty. Separately, tensions 25 April escalated in Suwayda when local factions arrested three govt officers in response to arrest of university student during anti-govt protests in Feb; govt 28 April sent reinforcements to region, raising concerns of potential military operation. 

Israel struck Iranian consulate, triggering unprecedented direct confrontation. Airstrike on Iranian consular facility in capital Damascus, widely attributed to Israel, 1 April killed two senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders and five officers; in response, Iran 13 April unleased massive barrage of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles at Israel (see Iran, Israel-Palestine and Conflict in Focus). While direct hostilities late April subsided, risk remained high of direct or indirect attacks between parties and their allies/proxies in Syria. Rocket fire 8 April targeted Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; Israel next day struck army military infrastructure in Mahajjah area, Deraa province; suspected Israeli airstrike 19 April struck army positions in Deraa province.

In east, Iran-backed groups targeted U.S. bases. Iran-backed groups 1 April launched drone attack on U.S. Al-Tanf base, Homs province, and 6 April launched missile at Conoco gas field, Deir ez-Zor province. Rockets launched from Iraq 21 April targeted U.S. base in Rumalyn, Hassakah province (see Iraq).

In other important developments. Türkiye targeted Kurdish militant targets, amid risk of escalation in coming months (see Türkiye). Tribal militias continued attacks on Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF): notably, 3 April killed two SDF members at checkpoint in Dhiban town, Deir ez-Zor province. ISIS insurgency continued as alleged ISIS attacks 18 April killed 22 regime soldiers and affiliated fighters near Sukhna town, Homs province.

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In The News

30 Απρ 2024
International reporting on the Middle East is focused on the Gaza war…, which has further reduced the visibility of the Syrian conflict. Arab News

Nanar Hawach

Senior Analyst, Syria
18 Ιουλ 2023
Banks are hesitant to change their banking operations [in Syria] when they know that permissions could expire imminently. The National

Delaney Simon

Senior Analyst, U.S. Program
31 Μάιος 2023
Turkey is highly unlikely to compromise on troop withdrawal [from northern Syria]. Reuters

Dareen Khalifa

Senior Adviser for Dialogue Promotion
17 Μάιος 2023
It's important to remember that [Syrian president] Assad's return to the Arab League is a symbolic measure to begin the process of ending his regional isolation. AFP

Anna Jacobs

Senior Analyst, Gulf states
13 Απρ 2023
The U.S. and Europe have made it clear that they do not agree with Arab states normalizing with the Assad regime, but there doesn’t seem to be much they can do about it. New York Times

Anna Jacobs

Senior Analyst, Gulf states
22 Φεβ 2023
The UAE has, since 2021, embarked on a policy of diminishing tensions with other countries in the region, and normalizing with Assad is part of that. Al Monitor

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa

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Nanar Hawach

Senior Analyst, Syria

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