The New Lions of Syria

Almost three years into the Syrian uprising, Islamist groups of various colour have established themselves as the dominant force among the rebels.

In his paper "The New Lions of Syria' - Salafist and Jihadist Groups Dominate Insurgency", Dr. Guido Steinberg, Senior Associate in the Middle East and Africa Division of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, is analyzing the complexe situation.

The jihadists of the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria represent two especially powerful groupings. Their growing strength has led international donors to reduce their support, and has sown violent conflict among the rebel groups. This has strengthened the position of President Assad, who has been arguing ever since 2011 that his adversaries are terrorists. Today there are indeed Islamist terrorists on the ground, enormously complicating the West’s search for a Syria strategy.

Writing for a German think tank, Dr. Steinberg concludes that neither the continuation of the Assad regime nor a take-over by the insurgents would be in the German interest. As long as this dilemma continues, Germany should concentrate on humanitarian aid and counter-terrorism, and to that end improve cooperation with Turkey.


To read the full paper, please click here.

Photo courtesy of Verity Cridland: Lion Aleppo Museum, 2009.

Read stories from: