debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year. The
Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern and central Syria, from which it continues to
launch assaults on forces opposed to and aligned with the government of President Bashar al
Asad. Meanwhile, fighting elsewhere pits government forces and their foreign allies against a
range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom have received limited U.S. assistance.
countries as refugees (out of a total population of more than 22 million). More than 7.5 million
billion in U.S.
funding identified to date. The United States also has allocated
role for the Asad government as a bulwark against Sunni Islamist extremism.
However, the Obama Administration and several Members of Congress have rejected the prospect
political transition and describe Asad as having lost legitimacy. Some Members of Congress
militarily to protect Syrian civilians. Others
further empower extremists or that civilian protection missions could prolong the conflict or
involve the United States and its partners too deeply in stabilizing Syria over the long run.
U.S. officials and Members of Congress continue to debate how best to pursue U.S. regional
security and counterterrorism goals in Syria without inadvertently strengthening
. Anti-Asad armed forces and their activist
. Powerful Islamist forces seek outcomes that
are contrary in significant ways to stated U.S. preferences for Syria
s political future. The United
Congress is now considering proposed appropriations (H.R. 2685
S. 1558, and
) and authorization legislation (H.R. 1735
. For more information, see CRS Report
R43727, Train and Equip Program for Syria: Authorities, Funding, and Issues for Congress
Crisis and U.S. Policy
authorization legislation (H.R. 1735) related to Syria
the use of military force against the Islamic State. Key issues under consideration in relation to
particular? How might U.S. strategies in Iraq and Syria best be aligned?
Members of Congress continue to express a range of views concerning U.S.
coordinating responses to the crises in Iraq and Syria. Several legislative
strategy reports on these topics.
What authority and funding should be provided for U.S. assistance to
might have for U.S. involvement in the wider Syria conflict.
for new attention to be paid to proposals for the establishment of areas safe from
air and/or ground attack inside Syria.