The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) recommend an initial American course of action in Syria as the first phase of a broader U.S. strategic reset in the Middle East. 

Pro-regime basing data accurate through March 21, 2017. Syria Control of Terrain data accurate through April 3, 2017.

The U.S. cannot drive a wedge between Russia and Iran in the near term. Tehran and Moscow share an overarching objective to expel the U.S. from the Middle East which will likely bind Iran and Russia together into an enduring partnership.

Iranian military cooperation with Russia in Syria is dramatically increasing Tehran’s ability to plan and conduct complex conventional operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s primary objective in Syria is to constrain U.S. freedom of action – not fight ISIS and al Qaeda.

Latest from ISW

Syria Situation Report: April 14 - 20, 2017

Russia, Iran, and Syria demonstrated their enduring partnership during a trilateral foreign ministerial meeting in Moscow on April 14 to discuss their response to the recent strike by the U.S. against Shayrat Airbase in Syria on April 6. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continued to consolidate his grip around core regime terrain in Damascus and Hama City.

Syria Strike Opens Doors for U.S. Strategy

The U.S strike against an Assad regime base in northern Syria on April 6, 2017 opened the door to a reorientation of American strategy in the Middle East. President Trump’s action could reset the terms of America’s confrontation of other hostile states, such as North Korea. President Trump may be shifting away from a narrow focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) as the strategic priority in Syria and toward a new approach.