Israel’s Policy on the Syrian Civil War: Risks and Opportunities | Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs: Vol 0, No 0
The war in Syria, which to date has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced almost half the country’s population, seems to be nearing an end. The Syrian tragedy, which drew in additional actors from throughout the Middle East and the world—paid militias, “volunteers,” and foreign armies—at unprecedented speed, seems to be stabilizing. This has created a new status quo, and will enable a smaller circle to wield control over the state still known as Syria when the smoke of battle finally clears. In August 2017, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) announced that over 600,000 displaced persons, some 10 percent of the total number of refugees, had already returned to their homes in Syria, many to the city of Aleppo, which, until several months earlier, had symbolized the battles between the weakened rebel camp and the regime forces.11 UN Migration Agency, “Over 600,000 Displaced Syrians Returned Home in First 7 Months of 2017,” August 11, 2017, www.iom.int/news/over-600000-displaced-syrians-returned-home-first-7-months-2017.View all notes Syrian tractors are already clearing the way for new roads, and Russian cranes are building a new port terminal, while the Iranians have started constructing a modern “medical city” near Damascus.22 “Establishing a Medical City in Syria as a New Proposal by the Syrian Regime to Iran,” Al-Dorar al-Shamia [Arabic], August 20, 2017, www.aldorars.com/en/news/1196.View all notes The year 2017 is also ending with Syria’s conquest (aided by Hizbullah) of the village of Beit Jann, one of the more significant pockets of resistance supported by Israel.