Perspectives Around Syria: Moralities in Conflict

Peter Lee, Tom Smith*, Sameera Khalfey, Vladimir Rauta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Recent and ongoing multifaceted conflicts across Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East range from the violent emergence of Islamic State to civil wars, fuelled by irregular proxy forces acting in support of wider power struggles, with consequences for the region, Europe and the UK that include mass migration, social unease, growing support for jihadism, and an increased threat and use of terrorist violence. This study contributes to an improved understanding of the complexity and difficulty of ‘winning the peace’ in current and future military interventions. In doing so it expands current understandings of competing moral components of contemporary conflict using ongoing events surrounding Syria as a multidimensional case study. Individual assessment and subsequent cross-analysis is conducted on the following: the moral component of jihadist discourse on social media, as it is used to gain and maintain support for the jihad; competing dimensions of conventional Western Just War; rivalries within conventional Islamic understandings of Just War; and the moral basis of Russian actions and motivations. Cross-analysis of these competing moral components of conflict highlights the complexity and difficulty of finding an agreed basis for a negotiated conclusion to hostilities, identifying further research strands in the process.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyDefence Science and Technology Laboratory
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Moral component
  • state rights
  • Conflict
  • Jihad
  • individual rights
  • Western just war
  • Russia
  • Islamic just war
  • KE


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