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.
Syria Transition Dialogue Initiative
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.