What’s Next in Syria?

The last week or two in Syria have been game-changing: Assad, backed by a lot of Russian airstrikes, has managed to mostly encircle Aleppo, the country’s largest and most populous city that Assad had almost entirely lost to various rebel groups at least one, if not more, years ago. In the process of this happening, the airstrikes are driving tens of thousands from Aleppo and surrounding areas fleeing as fast as possible to Turkey, who is likely to close its borders. Negotiations in Munich have resulted in a ceasefire that is barely coherent and regardless, unlikely to work.

What does this mean for the Syrian civil war? Well, Saudi Arabia is thinking about bringing in troops, with Bahrain and the UAE likely to follow. Should that happen, the conflict will likely lengthen and increase in brutality, complexity, and spillover. If the Gulf countries do not intervene, then the war is likely to wrap up relatively quickly, with Assad maintaining power over the state, backed by Russia and Iran, who will then concentrate on getting rid of (or merely pushing entirely into Iraq) ISIS, perhaps with some coordination with other countries.

What can the US do? Not much, even if they wanted to. Definitely a situation to keep an eye on, the next month is critical.

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