The Syrian War: Seven Years In and No End in Sight

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Rather than winding down to a peaceable solution, Syria’s war is becoming more violent than ever. This event considered the significant developments in Syria, the role of external powers and discuss prospects for the future.

Since it began seven years ago, the Syrian war has waxed and waned, developing increasingly complex dynamics. An underlying condition has been that no side has been strong enough, or shown enough desire to win and fully control the territory. 2018 has seen an upsurge in violence, especially in Ghouta, Afrin, and Hama, and the support of external powers has empowered local groups and increased the risk of greater escalation. With no end in sight for the war, the panel will consider the significant developments in Syria, the role of external powers and discuss prospects for the future.

The panel includes writer and journalist Hassan Hassan, researcher Ziya Meral and waschaired by RUSI Research Fellow Michael Stephens.  


Hassan Hassan is an American author and journalist of Syrian origin. He co-wrote the 2015 New York Times Bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror with Michael Weiss. His work on Islamist groups in the Middle East is widely acclaimed. He frequently appeared on flagship television programs, including the O'Reilly Factor, Amanpour and the Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, and has written for the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, the Daily Beast, among other outlets.

Dr Ziya Meral is a Senior Resident Fellow at the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research based at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and the Director of Centre on Religion and Global Affairs based in London, Accra and Beirut. He is a frequent commentator in the British and international media, and regularly gives lectures, talks and briefings particularly on Turkish and Middle East issues and on issues relating to religion and conflict. These have included testimonies before the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as lectures at the NATO Defence College, US State Department and EU Commission. Dr Meral has conducted field research and undertook academic studies across the world, including in Iran, Turkey, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria and the Philippines. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in politics, and a MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and a 1st Class BA (Hons) in theology from Brunel University. His new book, How Violence Shapes Religion; Belief and Conflict in Africa and Middle East, will be released by the Cambridge University Press in the Summer.

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