End of 2017: the Islamic State lost most of its territory, following large-scale and destructive military operations initiated to combat it. As the military campaign against IS comes to an end, many questions need to be raised to help design new policies to gain stability and peace in Syria.
What future for Syria after Islamic State? What political order can be built on its ruins? Will IS’s waning power lead to stability in the north-eastern provinces or will it create more chaos? Will IS’s military defeat be sufficient to pacify parts of Syria, and consequently to create new dynamics likely to end the Syrian conflict, or will it trigger new waves of violence between the different factions that have contributed to its defeat and within local communities? Will the post-IS political order prevent the re-emergence of old forms of extreme jihadist violence or could it even provoke the emergence of new ones?
These are among the main questions raised by Agnes Favier in the research project report Syria after Islamic state : ‘everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same’? in the frame of the Syria Initiative led by the Middle East Directions Programme.