The research for, and production of, this paper has been conducted within the PROGRESS research framework agreement. Responsibility for the contents and for the opinions expressed, rests solely with the author and does not constitute, nor should be construed as, an endorsement by the Netherlands Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.

In addition to this formal disclaimer, I would like to offer a warm thank you to those individuals who kindly agreed to be interviewed for this report and to share both their time and their insights with me.

Moreover, I acknowledge with gratitude the helpful peer review by Karin Wester (Dutch Foreign Ministry), Lina Khatib (Chatham House), Julien Barnes-Dacey (ECFR) and Erwin van Veen (Clingendael).

Finally, the 10 participants in our March policy-expert workshop offered useful insights and critical discussion that further improved the clarity and argument of the paper. Thank you.

The paper reflects developments in Syria until March 2020.