Assad Could Stay in Power After End of Syria’s Civil War

Officials are afraid that toppling the authoritarian could lead to a takeover by al-Qaeda backed Islamists. By Jordain Carney

Western officials are questioning whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal should be included in talks aimed at ending the country’s civil war, members of the Syrian opposition said.

The shift comes amongst an uptick in violence by al-Qaida-backed fighters in the country. The United States and Britain suspended nonlethal aid going into northern Syria last week in the wake of an attack by Islamic Front fighters on buildings held by other rebel groups.

(Related: Obama’s Syria Policy in Disarray, Is Counterterrorism Next?)

Our Western friends made it clear in London that Assad cannot be allowed to go now because they think chaos and an Islamist militant takeover would ensue,” one member of the Syrian National Coalition, a group of Western-backed rebels, told Reuters.

Another official suggested that Assad could be allowed to run again if a presidential election is held after his term ends next year.

If the United States and other Western allies are shifting their position it could bring them closer to Russian officials, who have spoken out against taking action against Assad.

Peace talks aimed at ending the civil war are expected to kick off next month.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.