Ali Najat / writer and researcher specializing in Middle Eastern affairs and Islamic movements.


Syria, which was one of the most stable and influential countries in the Middle East until the end of 2010, has become one of the most vulnerable and unstable countries in the region. It has been one of the hotbeds of conflict and competition between regional and global actors since the beginning of 2011. The beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011 was an event that affected the entire regional equation in the Middle East. The crisis in Syria is one of the most challenging crises in the Middle East in the current century. The presence of regional and global powers has caused this crisis to take on international dimensions and certain complications.

Perhaps one of the main reasons for the complexity and continuation of the Syrian crisis is the intervention of different actors on three levels: (local, regional, and international). Different perceptions, conflicting interests, hardening of positions between local, regional, and international actors that are influential in Syria, and the balance of power due to the full support of regional and international actors for their local groups, have transformed the crisis into a deep and complex one.

The Syrian crisis – which began in 2011 and lasted for more than ten years due to the multiplicity of intervening parties – had serious consequences for the Syrian people. The number of casualties of war reached 500000 in 2021. The clashes also led to the displacement of 13 million people. According to the United Nations, more than half of Syria’s population fled their homes before the civil war, and more than 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. In addition, 6.5 million Syrians suffer from food insecurity, and 12 million need humanitarian assistance.

The 11-year war in Syria, in addition to its harmful internal repercussions, has led to the escalation of political and sectarian divisions, the escalation of tensions, and the spread of terrorism in the region. At the international level, the war led to a new wave of refugees, the intensification of terrorist operations on all continents, and the escalation of tensions between the United States and Russia. In fact, the Syrian crisis has many repercussions on three levels: (local, regional, and international). Therefore, this analytical paper sheds light on the internal repercussions of the crisis in the political, security, and economic fields and its negative repercussions at the regional and international levels.

  1. The internal repercussions of the Syrian crisis

Political Repercussions

         The Syrian crisis, which lasted for more than a decade, had many negative political, security, and economic repercussions on the country. On the political level, one of the results of the Syrian crisis is the emergence of various political opposition currents and forces inside and outside the country. The Syrian National Council was one of the first opposition alliances and remains the largest and most important gathering of the Syrian opposition in exile, and the main reference for foreign countries that support the opposition. The formation of the Syrian National Council was announced in Istanbul on 2 October 2011. A coalition of groups and individuals is formed. These include the signatories of the Damascus Declaration (2005), the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, various Kurdish factions, representatives of the Local Coordination Committees, other political parties or platforms such as the Damascus Spring and the National Bloc, representatives of the Alawite and Assyrian communities, and some independent figures. By March 2012, the Syrian National Council claimed that it included 90% of the opposition parties and movements, with the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change and others objecting to this claim.

The Syrian National Council envisages that following the overthrow of the Syrian regime, a transitional period will take place during which the Council will form a transitional government and organize parliamentary elections within six months. Followed by the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution in one year, the release of detainees and prisoners, the establishment of an independent judicial commission to address grievances, and a national reconciliation commission, among other essential tasks.According to the vision of the Council. The “new Syria” will be a “democratic, civil, pluralistic state,” as well as a “parliamentary republic in which sovereignty is for the people, and is based on the principles of equal citizenship, the separation of powers, the smooth transition of power, the rule of law, and the protection and guarantee of minority rights.”

The Syrian National Council is aligned with the United States and its international allies, especially Western Europe, and with regional powers that have taken a hostile stance against the Syrian regime, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Among the countries in the region, Turkey is, in some aspects, the most important given its long-shared border with Syria, which offers advantageous advantages to the opposition. Turkey also allowed the Syrian National Council to hold meetings and issue statements in Istanbul, noting that some of its officials reside there. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which publicly advocate funding the opposition, have pledged substantial aid to be delivered through the Syrian National Council. In return, representatives of the Syrian National Council met with officials from Russia, China, and other countries sympathetic to the Syrian regime. Although relations have cooled, the Syrian National Council has admitted that Russia will have a crucial role in any dialogue on reaching a political settlement with the regime.

The second group of the Syrian opposition is the National Coordination Committee. The National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, or as it is known as the “National Coordination Committee” for short, is a Syrian opposition group consisting of many small political parties and independent opposition figures from inside and outside Syria. The National Coordination Committee was established after a meeting of representatives of some Syrian political parties and some independent opposition figures in the town of Halbon in the Damascus countryside governorate in October 2011.

The Coordination Body was established to unite opposition demands, seek political dialogue, and peaceful protests against the authority. Its founding statement called for peaceful protests to secure basic demands before the opposition engages in dialogue with the government: Release political detainees, allow peaceful demonstrations, withdraw the army from cities, repeal Article 8 of the constitution (ending the Baath Party’s monopoly on power, and allowing other parties to compete freely for public office), lifting the state of emergency, allowing entry to foreign media professionals to cover events, and referring those responsible for the violence to justice before beginning dialogue. The founding statement also included a political program calling for the establishment of a transitional government and basic reforms, most notably the drafting of a serious constitution, democratic laws for political parties, popular reconciliation, compensation for those affected by the revolution, and consideration of the Kurdish people’s issue. The members of the Coordination Committee agree on three fixed principles: No to foreign military intervention, No to sectarian mobilization, and No to violence and militarization of the revolution.

The third group of the Syrian opposition is the Syrian National Coalition. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, known as the Syrian National Coalition, is a coalition of opposition groups that was formed in November 2012 during opposition meetings in Doha. Moaz al-Khatib, the former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, was elected president of the new coalition. Two vice presidents were also elected: Riad Seif, who had launched the first call for an initiative aimed at uniting the opposition, and Suheir Atassi, a prominent secular activist. Mustafa Sabbagh was elected Secretary-General of the coalition. The formation of the new coalition was generally well-received by international circles, which praised it, describing it as a positive step towards a more unified front. On November 12, Gulf member states recognized the coalition as the “legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, ending their recognition of Bashar al-Assad’s government. Soon, the Arab League (except for Algeria, Iraq, and Lebanon) followed suit in recognizing the coalition as the “legitimate representative and main interlocutor of the Arab League,” but the latter did not give the group its full recognition as the sole representative of the Syrian people.

The fourth group of the Syrian opposition is the Democratic Union Party. The Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD) is a Syrian branch of the hardline Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), one of the most important Kurdish opposition parties in Syria, as well as a member of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change and the People’s Assembly of Western Kurdistan. The PYD calls for constitutional recognition of Kurdish rights and “democratic autonomy,” and rejects classic models such as federalism and self-administration. While condemning the authoritarian rule in Damascus, the PYD is responsible for disrupting Kurdish efforts to form a united opposition front.

However, the opposition groups, backed by regional and international countries such as Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the European Union could become a political challenge to the Syrian regime, and the future government of Bashar al-Assad through their actions and positions.