Between Al Qaeda and the Syrian Regime

Policy Paper
Nov. 14, 2013

The consequences of a continuing war in Syria are costly: the creation of a safe haven for Al Qaeda, the development of a war economy, a long-term refugee population, and the destabilization of neighboring countries. Yet, current discussions are focusing solely on the destruction of chemical weapons, without offering any credible prospect of terminating the conflict. But, whatever the strategy the United States and the European Union decide to follow, whether they favor a negotiated settlement, a rebel military victory, or even an indefinite continuation of the war, the situation in Syria calls for urgent measures, including 1) directly financing local institutions and training a police force to limit the activities of military groups away from the front and lay the groundwork for a reliable partner; 2) appointing a Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in charge of coordinating all UN operations related to Syria, and lifting the ban on cross-border aid despite the Syrian regime opposition; 3) providing military support for the most organized insurgency brigades in order to break the military status quo and halt the progress of Al Qaeda; and 4) having the Turkish authorities close the Turkish-Syrian border to jihadists.

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