Inside Story

Is federalism the answer to the war in Syria?

Federalism is being floated as a possible solution to the conflict in Syria, but both sides have yet to agree.

The resumption of talks in Geneva is coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Syria.

The crisis started with protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government before descending into a full-blown civil war.

It has drawn in foreign fighters and contributed to the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Yet the fighting has slowed considerably since a fragile ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia came into force almost two weeks ago.

However, a permanent peace deal and full ceasefire remain a distant possibility.

As Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy for Syria, prepares to meet delegations from the government and opposition groups, the idea of federalism is being discussed.

The idea has attracted considerable attention and controversy.

But could both sides consider federalism? And will the latest round of talks yield any concrete results?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Marwan Kabalan – Syrian academic and writer and Associate Analyst at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.

Maha Yahya – Acting Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Julien Barnes-Dacey – Senior Policy Fellow in the Middle East and North Africa Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations.