Iran’s Involvement in Syria during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Continuity or Change?
Iran’s Involvement in Syria during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Iran’s Involvement in Syria during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Continuity or Change?
By Hamidreza Azizi, Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

Part of the Syria Transition Challenges Project

Iran is trying to maintain its political and military position in Syria until it recovers from the impact of COVID-19. Protection of its interests via securing Damascus, driving out the military forces of the United States, and maintaining control of the areas that allow access to Lebanon (and the Eastern Mediterranean) are still priorities. The deteriorating economic situation and the slump in oil prices will most likely relax Iran’s control over its proxies in Syria, such as the Fatemiyoun and local tribes existing in Deir ez-Zor. The consolidation of the Turkish military presence in Idlib and the northeast will only make Iran more determined to expel American forces after the COVID-19 crisis subsides. The real challenge for Iran is losing the competition with Russia over influence in the security and economic sectors in Syria.

 

The ideas expressed are of the author’s not the publisher

Published in June 2020

All rights reserved to GCSP

Hamidreza Azizi, PhD, is an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. He was an assistant professor of regional studies at Shahid Beheshti University (2016-2020) and a guest lecturer at the department of regional studies at the University of Tehran (2016-2018).