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Launching the Syria Strategy Project: A pathway to resolving the crisis


The Syria Strategy Project works with policy makers to develop a holistic strategy to sustainably forge a pathway to resolving the Syrian crisis. The project launch is scheduled for Monday 18 March.

As of March 2024, the Syrian conflict reaches its thirteenth year. Despite the frontlines remaining unchanged for three years, the political process remains deadlocked. The unprecedented humanitarian crisis is compounded by the aid budget and the looming threat of renewed instability.

European countries, the U.S. and regional actors can improve the situation in Syria by applying a multilateral, practical, and coherent approach. Identifying areas of shared priorities of the U.S., the European Union, individual European states, and governments of the Middle East will help bridge gaps. These shared interests could be leveraged as pillars of a meaningful and realistic multilateral approach to resolving the Syrian crisis. 

The Atlantic Council, the Middle East Institute, and the European Institute of Peace, in partnership with Madaniya Civil Society Network, are launching the Syria Strategy Project. For the next year, the project will engage over 80 subject matter experts, Syrian civil society representatives, and more than 25 Syrian stakeholders and international governments in the US, Europe, and the Middle East to develop a holistic strategy to sustainably resolve the Syria crisis. Ultimately, the effort will provide the international community with a vision that builds upon U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 and provides options for multilateral action.

“Thirteen years into the uprising, the Syrian landscape continues to evolve with more accumulating challenges than solutions. The Syria Strategy Project will be the soundboard for policymakers and practitioners to discuss challenges and develop solutions holistically that would ultimately help resolve the Syrian crisis and its spillover effects,” said Qutaiba Idlbi, director of the Syria project at the Atlantic Council.

“This project is an unprecedented transatlantic initiative aimed at building a multilateral strategy to end the Syrian conflict. Bridging gaps between the European and the American perspectives and working with regional actors with a strong Syrian lead is essential to ensure a united approach. It can promote a solution that aligns with the aspirations and vindicates the rights of the Syrian population,” noted Marie Forestier, senior Syria advisor at the European Institute of Peace.

“By launching the Syria Strategy Project, we aim to bridge gaps and fill vacuums regarding the tactical and strategic thinking around Syria diplomacy. The appetite for this is clear. We’ve secured the working participation of more than eighty of the world’s most esteemed Syria experts, as well as the entire breadth of Syrian stakeholders and international governments,” said Charles Lister, director of the Syria and Countering Terrorism & Extremism programs at the Middle East Institute.

The Syria Strategy Project will convene a strategic advisory group comprising highly experienced former officials to ensure policy recommendations remain focused and realistic. Those experts will deliberate on policy issues focusing on the areas of accountability & security sector reform, humanitarian aid, economic recovery, security, governance, and the political process.

Throughout the process, the organisers will ensure broad Syrian engagement and will identify Syrian scholars to author a series of strategic briefs relevant to key policy topics. The project will provide policy-oriented analysis of these issues and will provide a forum for experts across the political spectrum to discuss, debate, and provide concrete strategic recommendations for policymakers.

“This project comes at a challenging time for Syrians, marked by the clear deadlock in the political process. Madaniya sees the utmost importance of engaging Syrian experts and ensuring their active participation in discussions and recommendations presented along the project. The objective is to present transparent and well-informed policies, where Syrians play an active role, for regional countries and the international community to adopt in pursuit of a comprehensive political solution,” said Sawsan Abouzaiedin, CEO of Madaniya Civil Society Network.