Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

November 8, 2022 Carla E. Humud Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs
In March 2022, the Syria conflict marked its 11th year. Analysts estimate that the conflict has killed over half a million people (including combatants) and displaced half of Syria’s prewar population. Challenges for U.S. policymakers in Syria include countering groups linked to Al Qaeda, responding to the threat posed by Islamic State (IS/ISIS) remnants and detainees, facilitating humanitarian assistance, and managing Russian and Iranian challenges to U.S. operations.
Conflict Status. In early 2022, United Nations (U.N.) Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen described the conflict in Syria—between the Syrian government and its partners on one side and various opposition and extremist groups on the other side—as a “stalemate,” noting that “militarily, front lines remain unshifted” (see Figure 1). Pedersen stated that “any of a number of flashpoints could ignite a broader conflagration.” In 2022, incoming U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) commander General Michael Kurilla stated that the Asad government is “positioned to end the civil war militarily,” but noted that the underlying conditions driving the conflict (including political disenfranchisement, poverty, water scarcity, and economic instability) would likely persist.
Islamic State. 

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