Syria is now nine years into a civil war that frequently promises, but never manages, to wind down. President Bashar al-Assad has retaken much of the country, but broad swaths remain combat zones. Just this month, Assad’s forces, with Russia’s backing, advanced in Idlib Province, the opposition stronghold in northwestern Syria, after a nearly ten-month-long offensive. Since December 1, 2019, more than 800,000 Syrians have fled their homes.
Assad may have gained territory, but his regime remains deeply fragile, and the regions under its control are unstable and growing more so. This war is not one that Assad can decisively win, even with help from Iran and Russia.
The United States must recognize that the conflict in Syria is unlikely to end in the near future. The prospect of more war is devastating, but it means that Syria’s fate is far from decided. Leveraging American diplomatic, economic, and military capabilities,
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