The Problem With Syria’s Demographics

How Population Change Stymies Peace

A general view shows a damaged street with sandbags used as barriers in Aleppo's Saif al-Dawla district, March 6, 2015. Hosam Katan / Reuters

Over the years, there have been several attempts to broker peace in Syria. The most recent one took place on the sidelines of the G–20 summit in Hamburg, where U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin discussed a possible agreement between their two countries. The hope was that a bilateral deal could inject some life into the stalled Geneva and Astana peace talks that have been going on for over two years. But this discussion, and all recent efforts to end the now six-year conflict have been premised on the erroneous assumption that returning Syria to its pre-war political structure will bring peace.

For starters, the war has fundamentally altered Syria’s demographics, and for this alone, a return to pre-war Syria will be impossible. Over the past three years, the Assad regime and its allies have successfully reduced the presence of Sunnis in the areas closest

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