CBRN Assessment

Air strikes on Syria would improve rebels' position but not end civil war

28 August 2013

Key Points

  • A limited strike against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's aerial, air defence, and chemical weapons delivery capabilities is increasingly likely.
  • It is unlikely that the strike will succeed in securing all chemical weapons munitions, nor is it likely to end the civil war in Syria.
  • Any attempt at changing the balance of the war would run the risk of allowing jihadist rebels into power in Syria. This will reduce the West's appetite for future broader strikes aimed at regime change.


As the United States considers its options to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria, its most likely option is a limited punitive strike rather than any broader attempt to change the balance of the civil war.

(122 of 1963 words)
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