Conflict Scenarios Point To Turbulent Decade Ahead

BMI View: We expect the civil war in Syria to continue for many years. A negotiated settlement following a protracted conflict or a formal break-up of the country appear at this stage the two most likely outcomes, while an outright victory by either the regime or the rebels is less probable. Under any scenario, prospects for a stabilisation of the country over the coming decade are very low.

We expect Syria's civil war to continue for the foreseeable future. As of March 2014, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Ba'ath party regime are holding ground after more than three years of civil conflict, which has resulted in more than 130,000 deaths, over two and half million refugees, and three and half million internally displaced people. The conflict long ago assumed sectarian characteristics, given that the Assad regime hails from the Alawite Shi'a sect (which forms around 12% of the population), whereas the rebels are mainly drawn from the Sunni majority (around 74% of the population). Caught between the Alawites and Sunni Arabs are significant minorities of Christians, Kurds, and other ethnicities, who fear that their positions would be jeopardised if the Assad regime were to collapse (Note: when we refer to 'regime', this need not necessarily entail Assad as president. It could be led by a transitional figure with the bulk of the state's other top officials remaining in situ).

Although Assad's regime has made some territorial and strategic gains since the beginning of 2013, rebels maintain control of large swathes of the country. The current level of violence suggests that neither the government nor the opposition is willing to end the fighting anytime soon.

Fragmentation Underway
Syria - Areas Of Control

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Country Risk
Geography: Syria

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