International Relations Paper on Syrian Civil War: Impacts of the Syrian Civil War

A current event related to international relations is the Syrian Civil War. The war that began in March 2011 has continued to present and is considered one of the worst humanitarian crises since the end of the Cold War. About eight years into the war, it is approximated that 360,000 people have lost their lives with millions of others being displaced. The country’s infrastructure has also suffered devastation since the start of the war. The war begun with Syrians raising complaints against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad who had just succeeded his father, Hafez, in 2000. Some of the factors that triggered the regional uprisings were the high rate of corruption in Syria, high rate of unemployment, and the lack of political freedom. The Syrian Civil War can best be explained by the theoretical perspective of realism, which argues that nations, enterprises, and organizations usually come together in situations where their interests are prioritized or favoured but are more likely to fuel conflicts when these interests are unfavoured (Llewellyn). A number of actors are involved in the war including Iran, Israel, the U.S., and others all with hidden interests. The circumstances resulting in the war are centered on a system level of analysis explaining the behavior of the behavior of nations such as Russia that rely majorly in international system characteristics. Some of the international relations terms explored as far as the Syrian Civil War is concerned are state, deterrence, democracy, foreign policy, and spheres of influence. The Civil War has had numerous consequences.

The Syrian Civil War has had geopolitical implications given the emergence of autonomous regions such as the Kurdish region between the border of Syria and Turkey (Asseburg). It is believed that the emergence of this region has boosted separatist aspirations of the Kurdish population while providing habitation for the dreaded PKK. The emergence of this region is attributed to the fact that the Syrian regime has withdrawn its presence from the Kurdish region thus allowing the establishment of Kurdish militias and structures of self-rule in the region.

The war has had spill-over effects whereby millions of Syrians continue to feel into neighbouring states such as Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon (Asseburg). These countries have found it difficult with regard to providing basic services such as shelter, health services, and supplies due to the increasing number of refugees. To address this issue, states such as Turkey are considering changing their foreign policy to cut off the number of immigrants.

The war has also resulted in a massive increase in sectarian polarization that was witnessed in the region during Iraq’s civil war (Asseburg). Muslim sects in Syria have been pitted against each other with each seeking to control specific spheres of influence. The Sunni Muslims have been pitted against the Alawite regime, its local supporters including Christians and Alawites as well as the regime’s Shiite allies including Hezbollah and Iran. Realignment along sectarian lines also occurs alongside pro-democracy movements seeking to push the regime out of power. The war has also raised concerns over the alleged use of chemical weapons although Western nations and the U.S. remain reluctant to get involved or use military deterrence.

In sum, the Syrian Civil War is considered one of the worst humanitarian crises since the end of the Cold War. The war that began in March 2011 triggered by factors such as high unemployment, corruption, and the lack of political freedom in Syria has had numerous consequences. The war has had spill-over effects, geopolitical implications, and sectarian polarization.





Asseburg, Muriel. “Syria’s Civil War: Geopolitical Implications and Scenarios.” European Institute of Mediterranean (2013): 1416. Accessed June 18, 2019.

Llewellyn, Karl. Jurisprudence: Realism in Theory and Practice. Routledge, 2017.