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Abstract

The conflict in Syria has been ongoing since March 2011, but to date has resisted third-party diplomatic efforts. This failure of mediation is despite the fact that numerous actors in the international system have interests both in Syria and the Middle East at large. The human toll of the conflict, which has produced large numbers of civilian casualties and considerable human suffering, creates even deeper urgency for effective conflict management in Syria. In this paper, I apply insights drawn from the scholarly literature on conflict management and civil wars to the Syrian conflict to explain why mediation efforts have thus far proven unsuccessful. I argue that the way in which conflict dynamics have evolved over the course of the Syrian conflict plays an important role in the challenges third parties face in mediating the conflict.

 

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