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The Challenge of Syrian Unity: Reassuring Local Communities and Framing National Consensus

Content from the Brookings Doha Center is now archived. In September 2021, after 14 years of impactful partnership, Brookings and the Brookings Doha Center announced that they were ending their affiliation. The Brookings Doha Center is now the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, a separate public policy institution based in Qatar.

With Syria on a course of violent fragmentation, the toppling of Bashar al-Assad will not – on its own – ensure a peaceful resolution of the conflict. In order to hasten the erosion of regime support and establish conditions for a stable transition, there is an urgent need to reassure large swathes of the Syrian population about the shape of a future Syria.

A new paper published by the Brookings Doha Center, The Challenge of Syrian Unity: Reassuring Local Communities and Framing National Consensus, explores the interests and concerns of key Syrian constituencies as they struggle to devise a formula for maintaining Syrian unity as part of a political solution to the crisis.

The paper draws on a closed-door workshop held by the Brookings Doha Center in Paris that brought together prominent members of the Alawi, Christian and Druze communities, Kurdish and tribal leaders, as well as members of the Syrian National Coalition and high-level representatives from key Western states. It finds that – alongside an intensified military effort backed by the international community – a political solution to the conflict lies in the development of a unifying national compact, built on a process of power-sharing and broad consensus.