Anatomising Syrian crisis: Enumerating actors, motivations, and their strategies (2011-2019)


  • Muhammad Nadeem Mirza School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Hussain Abbas School of politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan | Department of International Relations, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
  • Irfan Hasnain Qaisrani Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad, Pakistan.



Syrian civil war, civil war, Syrian crisis, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Assad regime, Arab Spring, ISIS, terrorism, Middle East politics, great power politics


Syrian crisis started as a domestic uprising against President Bashar-ul-Assad, and soon engulfed not only the neighbouring states, but also extra-regional great powers. This study tries to anatomise the crisis by addressing the nature of the actors lying at domestic, regional, and system levels, who have rendered the conflict its multifaceted nature. The main question this study addresses is: What are the actors and factors that have contributed to the complexity of the Syrian Civil War and why has this conflict degenerated into a prolonged violent engagement between different groups? While using the theoretical prism of contentious theory of civil war developed by Adrian Florea and in-depth qualitative case study as methodological tool, this study hypothesizes that grievances at the domestic level have resulted in the onset of the conflict in Syria, which was later exacerbated and prolonged by the rise of ISIS and strategic competition among the regional and system level powers. The study concludes that, though the crisis is not over yet, increasing interests and overtures by Saudi Arabia and the domestic growing Syrian animosity towards Iran has opened new avenues for regional and extra-regional involvement in the post-conflict reconstruction for effective governance, peace, and stability in Syria.


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How to Cite

Mirza, M. N. ., Abbas, H. ., & Qaisrani, I. H. (2021). Anatomising Syrian crisis: Enumerating actors, motivations, and their strategies (2011-2019). Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 5(1), 41–54.