The conflict in Syria, considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis the world has faced since World War II, continues to have devastating effects on its people and an increasingly destabilising impact on the wider region. The EU can make a difference in conflict solving.
EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian aid to Syria and wants to play a key role in the country’s post-war future and reconstruction once the war is over. The Assad regime, with the support of Russia and Iran, has regained control of 80 % of the country and continues to bomb rebel positions in Idlib in the northwest and Damascus suburbs.
Since February 26, a truce has largely prevailed in Syria. However, hardly any improvements to the humanitarian situation in the country can be observed to date. People continue to suffer starvation. That is part of the war strategy.
Syria and the fight against ISIS is the dominating foreign policy topic in the current presidential debates. The discourse on no-fly zones and efforts to topple Bashar al-Assad show that divisions run deep and beyond party lines.
Following the attacks in Paris, a global coalition in the fight against ISIL emerged. History seems to repeat itself. What have we learned from the events since 2001, and how did it come to the current escalation?
2015 is a hallmark year for migration to the EU. It is the year when the impasses of European migration policy manifested themselves in an explosive fashion. The massive influx of Syrian refugees into European territory resulted in the collapse of the European border and the European political project was once again put into question. The "hot summer of migration" triggered the reshaping of European policy, which nonetheless continues to be trapped in the dilemma of border security versus humanitarianism.
Triggered by Russia’s push to turn the military tide in Syria in Assad’s favor, Washington D.C. is currently seeing renewed debates about the need to revise the administration’s Syria policy. Prominent voices, such as former White House Coordinator for the Middle East Phil Gordon, have advocated for striving for a negotiated interim solution in Syria that defers the question of Assad’s fate. Bente Scheller, hbs office director in Lebanon, addresses some of the underlying myths and arguments shaping the current debate.