Is Russia interested in a new Syrian constitution?

Russia has a strategic interest in a future Syrian constitution that emphasizes secularism and respect for minority rights. After investing so much in the preservation of the Syrian government, Moscow will look to reap rewards. Russia will seek greater leverage over Syria’s political future, and one way this could be achieved is by influencing a … More Is Russia interested in a new Syrian constitution?

Can Turkey and Russia Create a Buffer Zone in Idlib?

The tenuous deal surely is welcome news for the Trump administration, which has struggled to define a set of objectives in Syria and seemed to have little leverage to stop the looming Idlib offensive. The U.S. for years has waged a bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, but the administration stopped short of … More Can Turkey and Russia Create a Buffer Zone in Idlib?

Limited U.S. Policy Options in Syria [Interview]

What can be done to stop the looming Idlib assault, and what — realistically — is the best outcome the Trump administration can hope for? “There’s always been overlapping or unclear objectives. There’s never been an unambiguous strategy. Unlike the Russians, as we know, who have always had one clear strategy: the preservation of the … More Limited U.S. Policy Options in Syria [Interview]

Expectations for Trump’s Meeting with Putin in Helsinki

The United States has little leverage in Syria and very few policy options. Russia is the strongest external actor in Syria and Russian influence will likely prevail. Since 2015, Putin has deployed military force in support of the Syrian government. The United States and Russia have supported opposite sides in the Syrian war, and there … More Expectations for Trump’s Meeting with Putin in Helsinki

Russia and the U.S. have Common Interests in Syria. But it may not Matter

Despite their alliance, Russia has never had much influence over Syria’s policies. Published in the Washington Post. All eyes are on Russia as President Trump prepares to meet with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next week. But the real geopolitical focus of the meeting might well be a few thousand miles away in Syria. Last week, national … More Russia and the U.S. have Common Interests in Syria. But it may not Matter

John Bolton’s Syria Policy [Interview]

Ambassador John Bolton views Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an obstacle to peace. However, he perceives Iran, a powerful Assad ally, as a bigger threat. Bolton will likely avoid confronting Assad directly to prevent a clash with Russia, another principal Assad ally because it is believed that President Trump admires President Putin. Therefore, Bolton may propose weakening Assad … More John Bolton’s Syria Policy [Interview]

Why Russia will Prevail in Syria

Published in the Washington Post. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that Syrian and Russian warplanes killed more than 500 civilians, including 121 children, in Eastern Ghouta from Feb. 18 through Sunday. Moscow denies direct involvement, despite having deployed military forces in support of the Syrian government since 2015. This weekend, after initial resistance, … More Why Russia will Prevail in Syria