Syria’s war has been a humanitarian catastrophe, with serious consequences for its people, surrounding states, and others around the world. Around 500,000 people have died during the war and more than 13 million have fled their homes. Factions and forces have competed for control, triggering tensions—geographic, communal, social, religious, and ethnic—among Syrians. Since 2015, the U.S. Institute of Peace has helped local leaders engage in outcome-oriented dialogues to promote peace in their communities. USIP has also helped civil society organizations, informed policymakers, worked to reduce refugee-host tensions in states near Syria, and cooperated with proponents of peace.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Syria.
With the Israel-Hamas war poised to enter its fourth week, the conflict continues to escalate. The Israeli military announced on October 25 it had struck more than 7,000 targets inside Gaza, ranking the current military campaign among the most intense globally in recent memory. The conflict has resulted in an estimated 1,400 Israelis killed, according to Israeli government sources and more than 6,500 Gazans killed, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry. More than 200 hostages are held captive in Gaza.
Many Arab countries have concluded that President Bashar al-Assad is entrenched power and that they’ll need his cooperation to address challenges like refugees and the illicit drug trade. In Washington, there is no appetite to normalize with Assad. “I think ultimately what we see is just a fundamental tension between the need for accountability and fatigue in the region,” USIP’s Mona Yacoubian says.
Dealing with people who leave violent extremist groups has become one of the most pressing security issues of our time. Drawing on new primary research conducted by the author in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria, and existing research on disengagement and reintegration, this report underscores the challenges of administering rehabilitation programs in conditions of chronic insecurity—and of doing so at a scale sufficient to make a difference to hundreds or even thousands of people in short order.
The Syria Study Group (SSG) was established by Congress with the purpose of examining and making recommendations on the military and diplomatic strategy of the United States with respect to the conflict in Syria. The SSG is a bi-partisan working group composed of 12 participants each appointed by a member of Congress for the duration of the study.
In recent years, peace processes — such as the track 2 intra-Afghan negotiations — have shown that on both a moral and practical level, women’s inclusion is essential. Women’s involvement in peace processes increases their likelihood of success and longevity and can increase legitimacy. While more literature on women contributing to mediation and negotiation efforts is slowly being produced, little attention is currently being paid to the already existing work of women who employ their faith and mobilize religious resources for peacebuilding.