- The U.S., Turkey, Iran and Russia are all raising their military presence in Syria
- Each has goals that are incompatible with the others’
- Though peace is possible, continued conflict looks much more likely
Events are coming to a head in Syria now that the defeat of Daesh (also known as Islamic State) has taken the lid off simmering regional tensions. Iran and its allies – flush with the glow of victory – are bolstering their presence in Syria, close to the Israeli border and the Golan Heights. These dynamics have introduced several big, overarching themes to the Levant’s geopolitical landscape. First, Iran has become a de facto military neighbor of Israel along a continuous strip of territory from southern Lebanon to the Golan Heights south of Damascus. In fact, this front now runs all the way to the occupied territories.