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Whither the War in Syria?

In Human Rights, Syria on December 14, 2016 at 10:18 am

David Cortright is the Director of Policy Studies and the Peace Accords Matrix at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

The Trump administration will face one of its most difficult foreign policy tests in Syria, with a high likelihood of failure.

There are no good options for U.S. policy. On one side is the brutal Assad regime which sparked the revolt five years ago by massacring peaceful protesters and has committed countless atrocities since. With military support from Iran and Russia, the regime has regained military ground in recent months and now clings to remnants of power in a shattered country.

Opposing Assad are Kurdish forces, backed by the U.S. but opposed by Turkey and other states in the region, and a vast network of extremist militias and insurgent groups including Jahbat al-Nusra, Al Qaida, and the so-called Islamic State—all sworn enemies of the West. ISIS and other insurgent groups still control wide swaths of territory in Syria. Read the rest of this entry »