The Carter Center has developed a reputation as a trusted, objective broker after years of experience working with Syrians — including government, opposition, and civil society stakeholders. Since the onset of the uprising, the Center's Conflict Resolution Program has been developing alternative paths to a political solution.
The humanitarian, political, and socio-economic repercussions of the Syrian civil war remain catastrophic. The overall death toll, though difficult to estimate, is close to a quarter million and shows no signs of slowing. As a result of the ongoing violence, more than half of Syria's population has been displaced. Although talks have shown little progress so far, the war will eventually end with a political agreement. The possibility of a peace agreement on Syria — whether internationally backed, domestic, or a hybrid — provides the context for the Carter Center's efforts to continue assisting the country with an eventual transition to peace.
The Carter Center's work in Syria is designed to provide input to stakeholders in the resumption of a political process and help facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Currently, the Center's efforts are divided between two parallel and complementary projects: Syria Transition Dialogue Initiative and Syria Conflict Mapping Project, detailed below.
Since July 2013, The Carter Center has held workshops and individual consultations with Syrians and government representatives in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, and has become intimately acquainted with all issues of concern to stakeholders regarding a transition to peace and future governance. The Center has established a unique and diverse network of Syrians across political divides working on transition. Syrians engaged to date have been lawyers, judges, senior political officials, representatives of paramilitary groups, academics, activists, civil society representatives, as well as international experts. Syrian interlocutors have stated that the workshops have provided an opportunity to overcome prejudice and find common ground on substantive issues surrounding a transition period in Syria.
Following each workshop, the Center updates and refines a working paper that encompasses participants' contributions and stances regarding options for a transition to peace in Syria. The initiative is grounded in an analysis of current developments in Syria, Syrian constitutional and other laws, past and present, and experience in recent post-conflict political transitions elsewhere. The last iteration of the report, published in Arabic and English can be found below:
May 8, 2016 | Syria's Transition Constitutional Options (عربي)
Since 2012, the Syria Conflict Mapping Project has worked to analyze open source information related to the Syrian conflict in as much detail as possible, with the goal of assisting mediators and humanitarian responders. Using these publicly available resources, as well as regular consultations with stakeholders in the country, the Center has documented and mapped over 70,000 conflict events in Syria (including clashes, aerial bombardments, artillery shelling, etc.), the changing relations between thousands of armed groups, movements of internally displaced people, and humanitarian conditions.
Analyzed together, this information allows The Carter Center to provide mediators and humanitarian responders with up-to-date, detailed analysis on developments throughout Syria. Additionally, the Center maintains a near real-time, auto-updating map of areas of control throughout Syria. All of this information is analyzed and is shared directly with mediators and humanitarian organizations through a software tool provided by Palantir Technologies. View the Center's dynamic conflict map here.
July 14-21, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
July 7-13, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
June 30-July 6, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
June 23-29, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
June 16-22, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
June 9-15, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
June 2-8, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
May 26-June 1, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
May 19-25, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
May 12-18, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
May 5-11, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
April 28-May 4, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
April 20-27, 2016 | Weekly Conflict Summary
April 21, 2016 | The Cessation of Hostilities
Jan. 29, 2016 | Russian Airstrikes Update
Oct. 30, 2015 | Syria Conflict Update
Oct. 9, 2015 | Syria Frontlines Update
July 10, 2015 | Southern Syria Conflict Update
May 15, 2015 | The Islamic State in Southern Syria
Feb. 28, 2015 | Syria Countrywide Conflict Report #5
Nov. 7, 2014 | Aleppo Status of Forces Update
Sept. 11, 2014 | Syria Countrywide Conflict Report #4
April 1, 2014 | Opposition Coastal Offensive Conflict Report
March 14, 2014 | Syria Countrywide Conflict Report #3
Nov. 20, 2013 | Syria Countrywide Conflict Report #2
Nov. 5, 2013 | Pro-Government Paramilitary Forces
Aug. 20, 2013 | Syria Countrywide Conflict Report #1
June 7, 2013 | Regional Conflict Report #2: Damascus
April 25, 2013 | Regional Conflict Report #1: Aleppo
Feb. 18, 2013 | Regional Conflict Report: Ras al-Ain
Since the onset of the uprising in March 2011, and the subsequent devolution into a catastrophic conflict, the Center has expanded its efforts to support a political solution in Syria that builds a foundation for future democratic governance.
The following Op-Eds and articles highlight the Center's work in Syria:
April 25, 2016
The Prospects for Peace or War in Syria
Conflict Resolution Program Director Hrair Balian, speech at the World Affairs Council
Oct. 30, 2015
Toward a Five-Nation Peace Plan for Syria: Q&A with Hrair Balian
Published by the International Peace Institute.
Oct. 23, 2015
Jimmy Carter: A Five-Nation Plan to End the Syrian Crisis
Jimmy Carter op-ed, published by The New York Times.
Aug. 28, 2015
Why 'No-fly Zones' or 'IS-free Zones' Are Not a Solution in Syria
Hrair Balian op-ed, published by the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Center and OpenDemocracy.
March 14, 2015
Syria's Civil War Sees No End in Sight
Hrair Balian op-ed, published by Al Jazeera America.
April 15, 2014
How Researchers Use Social Media To Map The Conflict In Syria
Published by Forbes.
Feb. 11, 2014
Syria's Refugees: Regional Implications of the Conflict
Transcript: Q&A. Participant: Hrair Balian, Director, Conflict Resolution Program, The Carter Center.
Dec. 22, 2013
Time to be Bold and Make Peace in Syria
Jimmy Carter and Robert Pastor op-ed, published by The Washington Post.
Sept. 11, 2013
Jimmy Carter: The World Now Has a Chance to End War in Syria
Jimmy Carter op-ed, published by The Washington Post.
Aug. 30, 2013
Statement From The Carter Center on the Syria Crisis
Published by Politico, Global News, and Daily Caller.
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The Camp David Accords of 1978 were a major achievement of the Carter administration. President Carter has continued his deep interest in Middle East peace since leaving the White House, and The Carter Center has closely followed events in the region — including recent efforts to achieve political transition in Syria.
Tracking the Front Lines in Syria