Nearly two years after the Islamic State’s (IS) fighting forces were dislodged from their final hideout in Baghouz, Syria, the northeast (NE) region remains highly insecure. Numerous state actors with a stake in the future of Syria either maintain a troop presence in the NE or are providing financial and logistical support to proxies or other non-state actors. The resulting conflicts paint a worrying picture for the future of the NE and its residents.
This joint report from the National Agenda for the Future of Syria Programme (NAFS) at UN ESCWA and the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) provides key policy recommendations and proposes a way forward for local and international actors seeking to preventing the reemergence of violent extremism in this region. Authored by CIC’s Hanny Megally and lead researcher Jasmine M. El-Gamal, this report takes a historical look at the NE, why it became a target for IS to control, the “post-IS” landscape, and the current vulnerabilities that exist on the ground—social, economic, military, and political—that may lead to violent extremism or a reemergence of IS. The failure to address the core issues that gave rise to violent extremism will undermine the enduring defeat of IS and other extremist groups and lead to the continued suffering of the people of northeast Syria.