Inside Story

Can incoming UN boss Antonio Guterres end Syria’s war?

What can Antonio Guterres, the next UN leader, do to end six years of war in Syria?

When Antonio Guterres, the UN’s new secretary-general, assumes his duties in January – he will inherit, among other challenges, six years of war in Syria.

His predecessor, Ban Ki-moon, failed to engineer an end to the Syrian conflict that has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced almost 11 million Syrians – half the country’s pre-war population.

Guterres has said that ending the war will be a “top priority”, and he is currently in Russia meeting President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But the 67-year-old isn’t the only new face at the UN.

US President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Nikki Haley as UN ambassador, a former US governor who fought against settling Syrian refugees in her state.

So, what can we expect from these new arrivals? And can we expect a shift in how to end the war?

Presenter: Jane Dutton


Marwan Kabalan – Syrian academic and analyst with the Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies at the Doha Institute.

Hillary Mann Leverett – Political analyst and former White House National Security Official.

Vyacheslav Matuzov – Former Diplomat and Chairman of the Russian Friendship Society with Arab Countries.