What has been the general reaction of countries close to the Syria/Iraq civil conflict?

Have they been trying to prevent the conflict from continuing? Are they merely supporting combatants with a similar sectarian affiliation to themselves (Shia versus Sunni)? Or have they been inactive?

If the countries have been inactive, is there reason to believe that they have the potential, in either military, diplomatic or other ways, to help prevent the conflict?

  • This may be a basic question, but I don't have a good handle on the Syria civil conflict. I suspect it's because I only paid attention to it part of the way through, and I'm not familiar with either "side" of the conflict.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 12:35

1 Answer 1


Since the underlying conflict is Shia (well, Alawite) vs Sunni, predictably, almost all[1][2] surrounding countries support the combatants they belong with:

  • Hezbollah-led Lebanon and Iran support Al-Assad
  • Sunni-majority countries (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Quatar, even Hamas-controlled Gaza, etc...) support the anti-Assad forces. Obviously, the degree and explicitness of support varies between Turkey/KSA, and Jordan.
  • Iraq was split, predictably, with ISIS and other Sunni based forces fighting against Al-Assad and Hezbollah whereas Shia forces fighting for Al-Assad (e.g. al-Abbas brigade).

[1] - As you can guess, the only 100% deviation from this rule is Israel. The strategy there is: let them fight each other, helping either side is a losing proposition. The longer they fight and weaken each other, the less they try to harm Israel. So they clearly have no interest in "help prevent the conflict" part of your question. The only times they intervened was when Al-Assad was transfering advanced weapons to Hezbolla, which would be used against Israel.

[2] - Another deviation is Egypt. While it had some support for the rebels during Morsi government, Al-Sisi's main concern is regional stability; preventing Moslem-Brotherhood-sympathetic Sunni refugee inflow; and financial support from regional backers (KSA) who are instead now more concentrated on Syria.

  • 1
    The split is not along the lines Sunni vs Shia but along the lines pro and contra US. The anti-US side is led by Iran.
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 15:28
  • 2
    @Anixx - oh, yeah, ISIS is most-definitely Pro-US. NOT! Most Sunni Islamists are about as anti-US as Shia ones.
    – user4012
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 18:30
  • initially ISIS was on the pro-US side (and the US even provided support to ISIS). The situation changed when they broke with Saudi (and supposedly CIA)-controlled Al-Qaeda and started expansion in Iraq.
    – Anixx
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 18:37
  • 6
    @Anixx - "initially ISIS was on the pro-US side" - [citation needed]
    – user4012
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 19:09
  • 4
    @Anixx the US did not provide support to ISIS.
    – Publius
    Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 14:12

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