Syria is central to the security and future of the Middle East, but conditions for a resolution of the Syrian conflict through a political solution do not exist. Currently, neither side is capable of bringing stability to the country. Since the Islamic State routed Iraqi forces in Mosul in summer 2014 regional players have developed a new sense of urgency because of the jihadi threat, but not sufficiently so to bury their rivalries. It is clear that the Syrian question will not be resolved without a coherent U.S. strategy of calculated involvement that does not involve fuelling the conflict, but rather building capacity to restore security by organizing a coherent Syrian military force without involving foreign forces. The report assumes that the countries with the greatest influence in the conflict are still keen to put Syria back together and pleads for a more serious U.S.-Russian engagement. It suggests that the U.S. should define an end game that gives Syrian fighters a sense of purpose if it wants to see tangible results on the ground. The aim is to stop Assad’s killing machine and force him to transfer power to a transitional authority over an agreed period, an authority that would stabilise the country and lead the reconstruction process.