This policy brief reviews the current political and humanitarian situation in Syria and analyses possible scenarios for a peace mission for Syria. The brief argues that the most likely scenario for an end to the conflict would require a regionally led solution involving Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with the eventual backing of the US and Russia.
Four preliminary conclusions have been identified:
- There is a highly fragmented military situation and any peace deal will face armed opposition.
- There will probably be a need for a peace mission. One option may involve limited missions to secure local ceasefires. A second option could involve a two-tier mission that, following a peace deal, is able to perform a mix of tasks that includes peace enforcement and peacekeeping.
- A coalition of EU states should assume the hard military core of any two-tier mission within a “Berlin Plus” framework that allows for the use of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) assets and capabilities. They should act, however, with the participation of a wider grouping of states, including BRICS countries such as Brazil, Russia and India, as well as members of the Arab League.
- There is no solution to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) challenge in isolation from the broader issues at the root of the conflict. A democratic political process with elections and a new constitution must be the end game for any peace mission.