As we observe and reflect on the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Syrian civil war, the literature helps us make sense of the past, present, and future of the conflict with its surrounding dynamics. The books we review in this article constitute a part of a collective scholarly effort to explain and understand the worst crisis of the century. It is with the help of these books that we have a chance to have a scholarly discussion about the Syrian crisis. Both Abhyankar’s Syria: A Tragedy of Pivotal State and Rabinovitch and Valensi’s Syria: A Requiem are explanatory explanations written by practitioners and researchers with a realist approach. Vignal’s account in Wartorn: The Unmaking of Syria, on the other hand, is more on the social side of the spectrum with her thorough analysis of events with a rather humanitarian tone.
The civil war in Syria, now ongoing for 10 years, does not appear to be ending soon given the continuing conflicts among the domestic and global actors invvolved. The War for Syria: Regional and International Dimensions of the Syrian Uprising (2020), a follow-up to The Syrian Uprising: Domestic Origins and Early Trajectory (2018), focuses on external factors, as its name suggests. Accordingly, regional power conflicts and global actors are scrutinized in terms of how the latter affected both the emergence of the conflict environment in Syria and the evolution of the war in their favor.