Author: Sajid Karim, Md. Nazmul Islam

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The Syrian crisis, which started in 2011 as an anti-government protest against President Bashar-al-Assad, transformed into a civil war in the first quarter of 2012. Since then, the war continued unabated resulting as one of the worst humanitarian crises after the Second World War by killing more than 470,000 people and displacing half of the Syria’s total population either internally or externally. It has also dragged regional and global powers to wage proxy war in its territory and caused spill-over effects within and beyond the region. In this context, this paper is an attempt to analyse the Syrian crisis, geopolitics behind the crisis and its implications. In doing so, the paper identifies different factors, such as authoritarian nature of President Bashar-al-Assad’s government, sectarian division and deteriorated socioeconomic condition within Syria, competing gas export interest from regional as well as global powers, the intervention of foreign powers as major reasons for deepening the crisis and prolonging this war. The ruling Ba’ath Party of Syria headed by President Assad, a coalition of Syrian opposition forces and their military entity, regional and global forces, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, the United States, Russia, Lebanon’s Shiite militia group Hezbollah and different Sunni armed extremist groups like Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are the main actors of this war. The paper argues that apart from its devastating impact on Syria’s socio-political and economic condition, the crisis has shaken the entire Middle East in particular and made a corrosive effect on the West’s relations with both Russia and China as a whole. It has also caused the biggest wave of disorderly migration since the Second World War and facilitated the emergence of armed extremist organisations like ISIS and Al Nusra Front, which are posing serious threats to national security of Syria and beyond.