Stabilisation in Syria
The K4D helpdesk service provides brief summaries of current research, evidence, and lessons learned. Helpdesk reports are not rigorous or systematic reviews; they are intended to provide an introduction to the most important evidence related to a research question. They draw on a rapid desk-based review of published literature and consultation with subject specialists. The Syrian conflict is now in its seventh year and involves a wide range of both national and international parties. Crucially, no party is in a position to establish control over the entire country. This has implications for efforts at stabilisation. There is increasing recognition that the Assad regime cannot be displaced and hence must factor in efforts to find a political solution. The recent focus has been on ways to reduce the fighting, paving the way for transition talks. Two major processes have been underway to find a solution to the Syrian conflict: the ‘Geneva process’ under the auspices of the UN, and the ‘Astana process’ led by Russia, Iran and Turkey. The latter differs from the former in that it involves armed groups and seeks to find a way to end the fighting before then working on a political settlement. Progress was made at the latest round of Astana talks in May, with endorsement of four ceasefire zones in the country which would allow the return of displaced civilians and provision of humanitarian aid to those areas.