The Syrian Civil War has taken a devastating toll on the country’s civilian infrastructure and population. Tackling the legacy of the conflict and restoring a measure of stability will constitute a monumental and generational challenge. The article addresses the “day after” in Syria by mapping out the main issues that a future post-conflict recovery, reconstruction, and reconciliation process would need to address in order to attain some level of stability and to be sustainable. It then describes and analyzes one of the most complex challenges of a future post-war transition, namely the need to reign in the proliferation of non-state armed groups and to ensure a process of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants, including those hailing from the jihadi camp. Finally, the article briefly addresses the role that local actors can play in beginning to build stability.
The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect her employer’s position. This article is part of a special project conducted by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, titled: “After the Caliphate: Reassessing the Jihadi Threat and Stabilizing the Fertile Crescent,” which includes a book, a thematic issue of Orbis: FPRI’s Journal of World Affairs (Summer 2018), and a series of podcasts. Each element of the project can be found here: https://www.fpri.org/research/after-the-caliphate-project/.