Assad in Damascus, Syria, January 2020
Sputnik Photo Agency

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has now endured through nearly nine years of civil conflict. The question for those invested in Syria’s future is no longer whether the regime will survive but how it will seek to consolidate its power before ending the war still ravaging the country. Assad may have entered battle thinking that his regime could retain the authority it enjoyed before 2011, but today his goals are likely more modest.

Their circumscription, however, does not make Assad’s current priorities less dangerous. They may even be more so. In order to demonstrate to the world

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