Syria: A Legacy of Western Foreign-Policy Failure

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War in Syria has been raging for more than seven years. A popular uprising in March 2011 was hijacked by extremist elements and turned into a non‐international armed conflict of savage proportions.1 This, in turn, has drawn in a number of countries to support one side or the other. Principally, it is Russian and Iranian forces, along with Hezbollah fighters, who support the Assad government. In the case of those opposing it, there are many different factions, most of which at this stage of the conflict are hardline extremists, such as the Islamic State (IS), which has captured (and since lost) large tracts of Syrian territory in its mission to set up an authoritarian caliphate under sharia law, and the al‐Qaeda‐affiliated terrorist group al‐Nusra Front (currently re‐branded as Hayat Tahrir al‐Sham).2 Their vision of victory is a similar anti‐Western society governed by sharia law,3 where freedom of speech, freedom of religion and women's rights are severely curtailed.4 Numerous other factions, including the so‐called Free Syrian Army, fight under the banner of more extremist groups, like Nusra.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-162
Number of pages27
JournalMiddle East Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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