This report finds that an “illiberal peace” is taking hold in Syria, offering an alternative framework in which violence has been halted or reduced while political and social grievances have been ignored.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
- The marginalisation of Western countries, coupled with policy inconsistencies and the inability of regional organisations and the UN to mediate, have paved the way for Russia, Turkey and Iran to consolidate their influence on the ground and increase their prominence in the management of the conflict.
- Russia, Turkey and Iran have positioned themselves as mediators and overshadowing peace initiatives by Western powers.
- Despite the challenges emanating from the war in Ukraine and its already adverse impacts on the humanitarian and security situation in Syria, Western countries should try to insulate their engagement in Syria from tensions over Ukraine.
- All external actors should redouble their efforts to ensure that ongoing UN-sponsored negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition lead to an agreement on a new Syrian constitution.
- An immediate priority for the UN Security Council is maintaining humanitarian access to civilians in need.
- The international community, particularly Western countries, should seriously consider the measures needed to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.
- Future peace research on Syria should focus on how Syrians perceive peace and fragmentation, especially in relation to foreign actors.